Not having an exit strategy is always a mistake. I think people fail to think about and plan for an exit strategy because they have the mindset that failure isn’t an option. Um, no. Failure is always an option and avoiding it as a thought process may be setting yourself up failure! The good news is people, like myself, can learn from their failures.
Even with the best training and the most experience, you should always plan an exit strategy in business. In fact, you should always plan an exit strategy when entering into any contract or committed situation. Knowing the worst case scenario up front can help you navigate your future endeavors. So, yes- I recommend making an exit strategy for your business. But how?
1. Write your business plan and write your exit strategy back-to-back.
2. Succession Planning vs. Selling to an Outside Party- which one is right for you? Should things go wrong, how will you sell your company? Will you sell your company? What if things go right? Will you sell your company? If so, to who?
3. Don’t assume your family wants to takeover the business in the middle of your crisis. Talk with your family about handling your business should a medical or other life emergency arise. Would they be able to (and would they want to) take over your company?
4. Consult with advisers now about your exit strategy (either selling because it’s failing or selling because it’s succeeding). If you don’t hire the right financial, legal, tax and business advisers to help shepherd any sale or consult on an exit strategy from the get-go, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
Exit strategies are needed. It’s difficult to address when launching a business, but I promise you its even harder to address when going through a time of great wealth or difficulty.