SME Transition

Prepare for a successful transfer or sale of your company


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in Executive Education according to the Financial Times


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for Learning Impact

Your life’s work has been building your SME. And then the time comes: you want to sell it, transfer it, or enter into a merger. Detailed preparation is key to making the transition successful and profitable. This programme gives you the understanding and approaches you need to complete a satisfactory transfer or sale and a valuable opportunity to have your plans scrutinised by a board of lawyers, advisors, bankers and experts.

Detailed programme

The SME Transition programme focuses on the essential insights you need to achieve a smooth transfer or sale of your company. 

Each module finishes with specific assignments to apply to your own company. There are five modules that take you on a step-by-step journey – and an optional sixth module that covers family business transfers and sales. You’ll learn from guest speakers who’ve been through the journey themselves – and you’ll share experiences with fellow participants.

By the end of the programme, you’ll have a well-developed transition plan – which you’ll present to a panel of lawyers, advisors, bankers and Vlerick professors. 

Module 1: Taking the first steps

  • Explore whether to opt for a family transfer or sale
  • Discover whether a partial sale or phased exit could be an option
  • Understand the state of the M&A market – and how to find a buyer
  • Develop a practical step-by-step plan – and know how investors view your company
  • Delve into getting the most from professional guidance
  • Discover how to raise the value of your company

Module 2: What is your company worth? 

  • Understand the price you can realistically expect
  • Explore alternative valuation methods
  • Know the pitfalls to avoid
  • Discover how to get the highest price

Module 3 – Leadership and transition

  • Know what it takes to lead in a transition phase
  • Understand the role of an external manager in facilitating a transfer
  • Discover how to work with advisors

Module 4: Mastering negotiations

  • Explore how to achieve a win-win situation
  • Discover the negotiation techniques you’ll need to achieve it
  • Understand how to win the buyer’s trust
  • Know how to avoid family conflicts

Module 5: Optional – Family transfer and sale

  • Understand how to avoid conflict
  • Discover how to set up family governance structures
  • Define who will take on which role
  • Explore private equity as an option
  • Know who you’ll sell your company to – and why
  • Get to grips with succession and estate planning – as well as the tax implications of family transfer
  • Explore long-term wealth management 

Module 6: Get expert feedback on your plan

  • Present your plan to a panel of lawyers, advisors, bankers and Vlerick professors
  • Use their advice to finesse your approach
  • Finish the programme with a concrete plan and a thorough understanding of how to succeed
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Why this programme

  • Know the right questions to ask – and understand all the approaches you could take 
  • Identify the right buyer – and calculate the value of your company 
  • Draw up a clear step-by-step plan  
  • Know how to guide your external advisors  
  • Negotiate with confidence 
  • Avoid conflicts in family business transfers and sales 
  • Understand how to manage your assets post-sale

Who should attend

  • SME owners looking to transfer or sell their company – either in the long or short term
  • Family business owners who want to prepare for succession – or the next step


Mathieu Luypaert

Mathieu Luypaert

Professor of Corporate Finance

Mathieu Luypaert explains how insights into financial figures and decisions can lead to value creation.

Hans Vanoorbeek

Hans Vanoorbeek

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship

An expert in private equity, Hans Vanoorbeek shares his passion for entrepreneurial buyouts.