It's sort of ironic. I'm becoming obsessed with exit plans even though After Nines Inc. essentially is in startup mode. I'm not suggesting that we're planning our own exit anytime soon here. But everywhere I turn, the exit discussion seems to be growing louder.
During my recent vacation, I stumbled onto the book "Walk Away Wealthy" -- a great read for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to understand how to build a valuable company... think about valuations... and attract potential suitors. Instead of getting caught up in IPO and M&A hype, author Mark M. Tepper offers a basic guide for day to day strategy, operations, potential exit timing and more.
Fast forward a few days and I stumbled onto a blog from Arlin Sorensen, in which he outlines 15 items you should think about when planning your business exit. That piece surfaced around the time I shared some thoughts about how to rethink the word Exit.
This Ain't the End
Indeed, an exit isn't the ending. Instead, it's often a fresh start on so many fronts.
- A fresh start for the new business owners... perhaps they're employees who acquired the business. Or maybe the new owner is a former rival down the road who admired your products, services, staff and customer list.
- A fresh start for you... With some money in the bank (hopefully), you'll have time to think about your next move. Maybe some rest and relaxation before consulting a bit and then building your next venture.
- A fresh start for your former employees... who will adjust to new ownership and perhaps some new directions. And yes -- they'll likely hear or share some innovative ideas you never thought of during your ownership period.
Changing of the Seasons
As we all prepare to exit the summer of 2015, I prefer to view the change of seasons as a fresh start. A fresh start for your efforts on life-work balance. A fresh start for your efforts on business building. And a fresh start for your efforts on potential exit plans.
By the time fall 2015 arrives, I suspect many of us will be celebrating new beginnings. New services for our customers. And... hmmm....
If you really think about it: We each exit over and over again. But that exit typically is the entry into our next big move.
Here's to your next exit. And your next beginning. Instead of wondering how it will all unfold, take some advice from Tepper and Sorensen: Plan for it.
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