Exit Planning Summit Speaker Spotlight: Sean Hutchinson


Exit Planning Summit Speaker Spotlight: Sean Hutchinson

The 2022 Exit Planning Summit is a conference where top advisors, their teams, and business owners come to share transformational experiences, build deeper relationships with both owners and advisors, and uncover innovative solutions for building their business value. We are proud to have speakers from a diverse range of specialties speaking on our main stage during the Summit on May 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of which is a founding partner of RFN Global and EPI faculty member, Sean Hutchinson.

Who is Sean Hutchinson?

Sean Hutchinson headshot

Over Sean Hutchinson’s 30 plus years in business, the most valuable lessons he has learned have been from business owners who generously shared their stories of success and struggle. They have allowed him to offer insights and guidance based on first-hand experiences.  

Sean has founded more than half a dozen companies, all of them with partners, some more successful than others. At the age of 34, Sean led a fast-growing global company and was responsible for making big decisions with big implications on a daily basis. Despite having been very green, he was hard-working and quick-learning and the firm became the largest of its kind in the world. Sean is proud to call himself the third-generation heir to his family’s 64-year-old custom millwork manufacturing business.  

Sean is a founding partner in RFN Global, an interconnected collection of solutions for transitioning business owners, their communities, and the professionals who advise them. RFN Global includes: 

RFN Academy

An educational community offering practical training to business owners and the professionals who advise them.  

RFN Advisory Group

A team of professional advisors who work directly with business owners to help them optimize the value of their business, believing ‘transition-ready businesses are more valuable’ ™.  

RFN Cities

A preparedness and business retention program provides communities with a programmatic approach to identifying the magnitude of the boomer-owned business risk in their community.  

As one of the founders of RFN Advisory Group (previously SVA Value Accelerators), Sean’s primary focus is strategy and growth. He helps owners and their leadership teams imagine what being a “company of the future” looks like for them, and then helps them achieve it. Sean sees his work as transformational, not just transactional and it all comes down to getting ready for next. 

To serve clients better over the years, Sean has invested heavily in education. In addition to obtaining a master’s degree from Miami University of Ohio, he is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) and a Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CMAA). Sean’s educational and professional experiences have equipped him to serve on the Board of Directors for three private companies and confidently accepts opportunities to speak to owners and professional advisors across North America, whenever he is invited to do so. Sean has been a faculty member of the Exit Planning Institute for seven years and enjoys helping professionals uncover the importance of supporting an owner through one of the largest events of their life. 

We recently sat down with Sean to discuss how he came into the exit planning community, how to have successful conversations with business owners, and what he is most looking forward to at the 2022 Exit Planning Summit. 

How long have you been a part of the exit planning community?

Sean: I have been working in the exit planning field since 2003. At that time, I focused on M&A and had a more transactional approach to my practice. In November of 2008, I attended the CEPA program and became one of the first 100 CEPAs in the marketplace. I actually sat next to Chris Snider in the program! 

CEPA allowed me to support all exit options and drop the transactional piece of my business. Chris’s Value Acceleration Methodology changed the discussion about exit planning from a “plan” to a “process”. Value creation can be dismissive, but value acceleration is an innovative process that can predict outcomes.

What makes for successful conversations between advisors and owners?

Sean: For an advisor, I recommend “silence first”. The more I talk, the less I learn, and the less I learn, the less I can help the owner. I like to demonstrate appreciative inquiry to ask better questions and get better insights to provide the best advice and solutions for each client. We all like to think we are the owner’s “most trusted advisor” but to be a trusted advisor you have to actively create trust within your owner and advisor relationship. Build a relationship with the owners to build that trust. Your conversations should be transformational, not transactional. 

What is one piece of advice you would give an advisor like you who wants to establish themself as a leader in the exit planning community?

Sean: I would start by asking the advisor, “What is your role on the exit planning team?” Some advisors have more flexibility on how they can implement the CEPA program education in their practice. For example, wealth advisors might be more limited based on their compliance regulations. However, value growth advisors can have more freedom. 

To those advisors, I would recommend the following:

  1. Do not succumb to the temptation to work alone. The EPI community is a great way to meet and work with a collaborative team of advisors. 
  2. Never try to simplify a complex case with the realization that every case is complex.
  3. Understand the abundance of the marketplace. The market is so much bigger than any one person can address.    

How will your session directly accelerate those in the exit planning industry?

Sean: This session will help you create space, hold space and give space to your client to discover the story behind the numbers. Discovery is the bedrock of your relationship and engagement. A discovery focused on mutual exploration allows you and your client to uncover information and details that may surprise you both and lead to deeper connection and understanding. 

The session will include meaningful workshops and activities to cement the conversation strategies that advisors can immediately use in their practice. 

What are you most looking forward to at the 2022 Exit Planning Summit?

Sean: I have missed seeing my friends and colleagues in person. It has been too long. I benefit and learn from their perspectives and cannot wait to sit down and grab a drink with those in the industry. I wouldn’t call it a networking opportunity, because that sounds transactional. I think of the Summit as a social growth opportunity, and I am eager to reconnect with old friends and meet new connections!

For more information about Sean Hutchinson please visit:

Connect with Sean on LinkedIn
Follow Ready for Next Advisory Group on LinkedIn
Follow Ready for Next Academy on LinkedIn

Meet RFN at the Summit in the exhibit hall to meet their team and pick up literature to advance your practice.

The 2022 Exit Planning Summit

The Exit Planning Summit. Uncover Innovative solutions, build deeper relationships, share transformational experiences. Register Now!

We are excited to welcome hundreds of Certified Exit Planning Advisors Sunday, May 1 – Tuesday, May 3, 2022, to Scottsdale, Arizona for a conference where top advisors, their teams, and business owners come to build deep relationships, share unique experiences, and uncover innovative solutions for their business.

The Exit Planning Summit is the coming together of the CEPA Community. The best CEPAs from around the world collaborate with their supporting partners and colleagues that are all helping business owners to create more significant companies. CEPAs will develop new or further current relationships, learn best practices, and advance themselves as advisors. Advisors will leave the Exit Planning Summit not only galvanized to accelerate their practice but with the tools and connections to do so.  

Learn more about the Exit Planning Summit and register to reserve your spot today!

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