exit

Tackling What’s Next: Are You Ready to Exit Your Business?

Exit strategy. A noun that could become a verb and conjures up both excitement and paralysis for entrepreneurs. Developing potential exit strategies can generate swells of pride if your business has achievements that allow you to craft a desirable list: impact, scale, leadership, growth, profitability, stability and value. The exercise also produces fear that you may never be able to exit. Even if you don’t want to exit, you want to know you have the choice. Paralysis then follows when you feel that you may cease to exist if you aren’t the captain of the ship that largely defines the impact you have on the world. Quite the emotional conundrum.

Do you have an exit strategy? Does this level of planning make sense for your business? Or is this still a pipe dream? If your business is in a position in which an exit may be very successful for both you and your company, it is your responsibility to have a few well thought out scenarios.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

My exit example: My husband and I co-founded a company over 20 years ago and achieved the aforementioned criteria (impact, scale, etc.). In our 15th year of business, our youngest son left the nest for college. We’d been planning for our sons to exit, and we realized we needed to do the same for our business.



There is always a “next,” and it was time to begin discussing if we were ready and more importantly, if our company was capable of tackling “next.” We were still experiencing great enjoyment and professional growth, but we also knew that we had an obligation to prepare ourselves, our company and our team for new opportunities.

We developed three realistic, and most importantly satisfactory, scenarios that the management team could execute in a reasonable period of time.

  1. Continue full-time engagement solely at the strategic level (no operational involvement), focusing on large scale growth and diversification
  2. Exit the company, retain equity position and assume role as chairpersons with monthly involvement
  3. Entertain an acquisition, preferably from a synergistic buyer to create new levels of impact and growth for both entities. Note: We’d had investment and acquisition inquiries previously, and we either weren’t ready or they weren’t right

Sign Up: Receive the StartupNation newsletter!

We received an acquisition inquiry that was right and we were ready (from a synergistic buyer within our industry). One of our satisfactory scenarios and a solid “next” for all. We worked hard for an additional two years to ensure successful integration and maximization of synergies and growth. Upon our exit, we did not enter Oz or “cross over.” We’ve learned that we are the same people today that we were yesterday. Our journey has not ended and we will endeavor until our minds and bodies give out. Entrepreneurs are just made this way. Time, passion and experience have given us deep talents and rich self-awareness that we plan to continue to put to work. There is probably another bring-you-to-your-knees startup with the unparalleled fulfillment that accompanies this effort. It is the pursuit that generates the happiness.

Are you ready for what’s next?

Total
7
Shares
Previous Article
big data

4 Ways Big Data Can Help Small Businesses Grow

Next Article
internal communications

How to Develop an Internal Communications Plan to Avoid Pitfalls

Related Posts
the rigbt software
Read More

The Right Software is Essential for Your Evolving Business

You started a business with a great idea, but when it comes to scaling it up with speedy and effective execution, you need something more than the average spreadsheet and software that only meet your business’s primitive needs. Often, business owners make the mistake of sticking to outdated software which hinders growth and profitability. Business...
employee experience
Read More

Employee Experience: Culture, Involvement and Career Development

Businesses focusing on customer experience is a given. After all, no business will thrive, or even succeed, without the support of the market it seeks to capture. But ensuring customers remain happy with your products and services is not the be-all and end-all of effective business management. Or at least it should not be. An...
work from anywhere
Read More

Why Working from Anywhere Matters from Dell

Where work or learning physically happens no longer defines the user experience. Fueled by an appetite for digital experiences and capabilities, we’ve clearly entered a “do anything from anywhere” world, creating limitless potential for borderless innovation and flexible collaboration. Now that remote and hybrid experiences—where team members shift between performing remotely and on-site—have become standard,...
responsible artificial intelligence
Read More

How to Build a Better Startup with Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Startups are quick to announce that they use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide better results for their clients, streamline workflows, create products more efficiently, and offer software solutions far beyond those of their competitors. But while AI can provide tangible benefits to help you automate and grow your startup, you need to use it...