Ideally, exit planning occurs before action in every area. Too often business owners/CEOs assume that because they want to exit the business soon, that they just have to action to make it happen. In fact, they are often surprised by how extensive the planning is that they must work through before they can get out and transition to reinvention.
Exit planning must include each parameter on this list.
- Exit Objectives – Before you proceed, you must identify your exit objectives for the business and for your life beyond the exit
- Value Drivers – You must identify your value drivers, the value drivers that will make the business buyer attractive and the value drivers that secure the future growth of the business and protect your employees
- Transfer Control/Ownership/Management – Control, ownership and management are not the same thing. So planning how to transfer these different skill sets to successors is essential. You need to break them into distinct skill sets before you decide who you will train to succeed you in each area.
- Contingency Planning – When things are running smoothly, owners think contingency planning is irrelevant. But if illness or an accident incapacitates you, your valuation will plummet unless you have a contingency plan/continuity plan established, documented and ready to activate.
- Wealth Management/Preservation – You have to decide how much of the illiquid wealth of your business you want to leave in the business , to maximize valuation and secure future company success vs. how much do you need to liquidate to achieve your exit criteria and the financial freedom to pursue your reinvention.
- Successful Exit – Defining and planning what a successful exit means to you is important. There is no vanilla answer. It’s unique to you, your family, your goals, your business, the lifestyle of your dreams. If you can’t describe it, you will never know when the package on the table meets your needs.
- Exit Options – The earlier you start exit planning, the more options you have, the wider range of exit vehicles, wealth vehicles and reinvention options you can have.
And to achieve a successful exit, you must follow through and implement every plan outlined above. This stage is very straightforward but ends up being the hardest because it takes consistency, focus, commitment and dedication to the endgame while still consumed with 90-day operational plans too. It’s a lot of work.
If you have any questions relating to planning your exit, please email me. I’d be happy to assist in whatever way I can.