exit strategy planning

The Business Exit Journey

There comes a time in every business owner’s life when they will need to exit their business. Unfortunately for many, the terms of their exit are dictated by an outside force.

Business owners are often so caught up in the day to day operations they forget to take the time to look above the horizon and gaze a little into the future. On top of that, so many of us have an emotional attachment to our business and the thought of exiting is too scary to think about.

I should qualify the above by saying, exiting your business is not an event, it’s a journey. Death, Divorce, Disability, Disagreements and Distress and even selling your business are all events, which cause you to exit. The journey to exit, for those of us wise enough to take it, is a liberating, holistic, premeditated set of initiatives that will prepare you both personally and financially for the next act of your life.

Selling one of the most illiquid assets you could ever own, on your terms, is a challenge few of us have prepared well for. We all know and understand the importance of valeting our car before we sell it and grooming our houses to ensure we get maximum price, but research tells us that business owners do not put the same level of preparation and effort into preparing our businesses for sale. The reality is, you can only ask the maximum price if you have built maximum value and we know that building value takes time.

Exit planning is an essential process for anyone considering selling their business for a number of reasons, not the least of which is ‘Value Creation’.  Often I have been called by clients who are too burnt out to continue in business and just need to get out at any cost, these clients leave significant amounts of money on the table simply because they didn’t plan their exit in advance.

Take the time now to think about when you might want to exit your business.  Consider the real value and security an exit plan will bring to you and your family. A point of note is this…………. It takes on average 12 months to sell a business and two to three years to add maximum value to the enterprise, so why put off getting started?

Ross Peden