Every success story has a beginning, a middle, and yes…eventually an ending. From the moment that ‘million dollar idea’ presents itself, the journey which hopefully leads from concept to legacy…will provide countless views for the entrepreneur. No matter how original, how brilliant, or how exciting…there will be days you will view the world from the valley, and those days that you will view the world from the very peak of the mountain top!
In most cases, the two views are looked upon as the preferred view of course; being that of looking down from the “mountain top”, and the not so good view; that of being stuck down in the deep dark valley… looking up. So, if you have done the hard work, put in the blood, sweat, and the tears…why not make sure that everything you have worked so hard for is protected?
Until recently, I considered myself “on top of things” wherein it pertained to my plan for what I would do once the day arrived where I would need to step back, sit down, basically…retire or sell my business. It was not until I consulted with a business broker that I realized I had no exit strategy in place…a common oversight made by even the brightest entrepreneurs. Here is what my friend Clarence J. Welton of INOJ Strategic Acquisitions had to share with me: “
According to Investopedia, an exit strategy is the following: a contingency plan that is executed by an investor, trader, venture capitalist or business owner to liquidate a position in a financial asset or dispose of tangible business assets once certain predetermined criteria for either has been met or exceeded. In my experience, most Main Street business owners have not thought that deep into this process. They tend to have an abstract idea about when they would like to sell or “exit” their business, but usually it is as vague as a new entrepreneur wanting to start a business but not too sure which business to start.
Taking the time to focus in on your exit strategy years in advance is releasing you of the logistical pressure of feeling like you are bringing sand to the beach versus enjoying the sun-rays, getting a tan with a drink in your hand while reading a good book on vacation. So what can you do today to start preparing for a proper exit that will allow you the feeling of sipping lemonade in the shade? First and foremost is having the last three years of your business and personal taxes as clean and transparent as possible including your year to date P&L. You should have in place how you track your K.P.I.s (Key Performance Indicators) in all daily activities. Proof of all entity records along with proof of any intellectual property is also required. Up to date records on your employees such as coaching records, goals, and individual development plans are essential data as well. Provide a list of suppliers and inventory breakdown by cost and margin. In addition, it is always a good idea to have a S.W.O.T. Analysis done to show the new buyer your insights on the competition and market share. Most importantly is being able to express your true customer experience and how that affects your current and future bottom line.
These are just some ideas that can help to jump start your exit strategy by preparing in advance. Make sure to get a business valuation from your local business broker, and I’ll see you at the beach!”
My point today is , just as the question “Is the glass half empty or half full” holds age old answers to many of life’s hardest questions….so too does the question of which view is preferred, which view is better. In many of my life’s greatest challenges, it was where I began that taught me the most, showed me the greatest truths, but then often times I was most humbled by the view I was afforded from the mountain top once I had arrived there. So I ask you, is one view truly better than the other, or are they simply relative? I would suggest that you allow ALL views to serve their given purpose within your life.
Continue your path towards your personal legacy by not fearing to peek into the world of your tomorrow. Plan for all that is yet to come in any way that you can…today, and exploring a viable exit strategy is something we should all consider.
For more information on how to get started on your personal exit strategy, check out Clarence J. Welton of INOJ Strategic Acquisitions, LLC at www.inojsa.com
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