Many business owners are highly focused on the day-to-day running of their enterprise. That isn’t too surprising – running any company is a challenge that throws up constant issues to be addressed. However, it’s important to remember not to spend all of your time focusing on the here-and-now. Yes, it’s important to forge new networking links, to improve customer service and to grow your bottom line. Yet, it’s also very important to plan an exit strategy for the future.
The Exit Strategy – Important Yet Overlooked
Running a business is, all-too-often, a life-consuming task. If you’ve just launched a start-up, or if you’re a few years down the line into establishing your thriving company, probably the furthest thing from your mind is how you’re eventually going to leave the organization that you’re working so hard to build up. However, this is quite worrisome, considering that, on average, around 80-90% of your net worth could be tied up in your company. If you’re going to work for decades to create a valuable organization, you need to plan for how that value can be harvested when you’re ready to move on to pastures new.
The Key Statistics
For the average business owner, around 90% of their net worth will be tied up within their business, yet around half have absolutely no plans in place for exiting the company that they’ve built up. This leaves a difficult situation when the times come to move on. Whether you’re keen to retire and enjoy the fruits of your labor or whether you’re ready to embrace a new and exciting challenge, the reality could be that it could be harder to get out of your existing company than you ever imagined.
Over half of all business owners have sold their business in mind as their exit strategy of choice, with over 40% of them considering doing this within the next 5 years. Yet, it’s likely that they could find numerous obstacles in their way when they get around to putting their company on the market, and they’re also very likely to be unhappy when they finally make the sale. Even those who want to keep their business in the family face a host of issues when it comes to sharing out ownership amongst several potential heirs.
In short, it seems that exiting any business can be fraught with difficulties, so there’s never been a better reason to start planning well in advance.
Beginning Exit Planning at An Early Stage
The team at Corporate Business Solutions recommends starting to deliberately consider Exit Planning as early as possible. It may even be best to beginning writing your exit plan before you even set up your company! Bear in mind that, to have the best chance of success, your process of exit planning should take somewhere between 4 and 10 years, so you need to leave enough time.
Why does it take so long? A good exit plan won’t just analyze your business and determine ways of strengthening it with your exit in mind, but it also bears in mind the owner’s financial and personal situation as well as their life plan once they’ve left the business. It takes calibration and time to align these factors.
So, don’t leave it too late to arrange the exit you want. When you’ve spent a lifetime building up a successful company you don’t want to throw it all away at the last hurdle. Seek professional help and start drawing up your plan today.