Julie Keyes Shares How to Build Your Book of Business as a Certified Exit Planning Advisor

There is an untapped market for Certified Exit Planning Advisors® (CEPAs). We spoke to Julie Keyes to learn more about how CEPAs can expand their book of business, build their practice, and help more business owners achieve immense value creation. 

The key? Working with more women business owners.   

Julie has been an entrepreneur most of her life. As the founder and operator of several companies, she understands the responsibilities of ownership and the struggles that come with being an owner, especially as a woman.

Meet Julie Keyes

Julie Keyes is the founder of KeyeStrategies, LLC in Minneapolis, MN specializing in exit and transition consulting. She became a CEPA® in 2015 and founded the EPI Twin Cities Metro Area Chapter in 2016. She has since hosted several Owner’s Forums and two State of Owner Readiness Surveys in her market since then.

Julie is an EPI faculty member, a member of its Thought Leadership Council, and recipient of EPI’s “Thought Leader of the Year” in 2017 and 2022, and nominated for “Exit Planner of the Year” in 2023.

In 2021, Julie released the 2nd Edition of “Poised for Exit: A Woman Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Transition” a book that helps owners of privately held companies navigate the process of business exit. Her weekly podcast, also called “Poised for Exit”, provides content relevant to business owners and advisors alike, and can be found on all major podcast platforms. The show was recently picked up by a local radio station and airs weekly.

She also produced a self-paced, online course specifically to educate business owners on the process of Exit Planning called “Business Transition Readiness: An Owner’s Guide to the Process.”  And a virtual program for advisors specifically built for CEPAs looking to utilize their credentials in the best way possible.

How have you seen the exit planning professional evolve since you became a professional advisor? 

Julie: There are many more women getting involved as exit planners than in the early years. And it also seems that those women are more motivated to use the credential in building out their professional services firms, rather than just adding another acronym to their signature line. Their desire to make an impact is strong and like I said before, they’re not afraid to seek out those in the know to shorten the learning curve. 

What can attendees expect from your closing session during the 2024 Women in Exit Planning Symposium at the 2024 Exit Planning Summit?

Julie: Attendees will learn the kinds of obstacles women owners face today and how we as advisors can proactively change the direction. I will share statistically how “women-owned” compare to companies owned by men and resources that focus on women entrepreneurism. Discover the practical reasons why women-owned businesses make such great clients and identify strategies for growing your business with more women-owned companies. 

Why is the Women in Exit Planning Symposium important to all CEPAs in the exit planning community, not just women?

Julie: Women own 21% of the privately held companies (with employees) in the United States. This is an untapped market in the M&A industry. Women-owned companies are statistically more successful and profitable than companies owned by men. Why? Because they are much more inclined to seek professional guidance and advice and having a culturally strong business is a top priority. These factors tend to be the primary criteria for advisors when seeking “ideal client” relationships. Coachable owners and marketable companies; what else could we as advisors ask for? 

As the recipient of several Excellence in Exit Planning Awards, how has this honor impacted you personally and professionally? 

Julie: It’s always edifying and humbling to be acknowledged by my peers, and the Excellence in Exit Planning Awards have helped increase my credibility as an advisor, which has been a nice benefit.  The truth is I never expected to be an award winner but have focused instead on achieving my personal best as an advisor. I think when a person has the right mindset and doesn’t accept an average performance from themselves, eventually their work gets noticed, but even if it doesn’t, you’re already a winner because you can rest at night knowing you gave it your all.  

What are you most looking forward to at the 2024 Exit Planning Summit? 

Julie: My top priorities at every Summit are to catch up with familiar faces and friends, meet new ones, and take in lots of great learning. It’s a time when you wish you could clone yourself to be in more than one place at once! Oh, and have fun; lots of fun! 

Attend The Second Annual Women in Exit Planning Symposium

Exit Planning Institute is pleased to announce a one-day Women in Exit Planning Symposium. This symposium will take place on Sunday, April 28, 2024. We aim to bring together women in the exit planning community from all different advisor specialties as well as all those who work with women entrepreneurs. The opportunity to work with women entrepreneurs closely impacts all CEPAs and this Symposium will help to educate CEPAs, advisors, and owners on best-in-class strategies. Join our panel of experts as they share best practices, discuss the unique challenges facing women in the exit planning profession, and how to build value in your business.

During this one-day event, participants will attend interactive, action-oriented workshops with national experts and leading practitioners on topics such as building your advisory team, communicating your value, closing dream clients, and more!

Symposium attendees will leave with new connections from across the advisory community,  gain skills and resources, and learn fresh insight and perspective. 

Join us for an inspiring and motivating day of content and connection on Sunday, April 28!

The 2024 Exit Planning Summit 

The Exit Planning Summit provides advisors with a transformative impact. Elevate your approach to business owners, foster meaningful interactions, and experience conversations that drive effective exit planning strategies. During the three-day Summit, attendees will cultivate lasting relationships and establish enduring connections with influential business owners, setting the stage for a consistent stream of successful sales opportunities.

Immerse yourself in a transformative experience at the forefront of exit planning in Marco Island from April 28 – 30. Join hundreds of professional advisors and their teams for three days of enriching education, actionable insights, and global networking at the 2024 Exit Planning Summit.  

Register for the Exit Planning Summit today!