When you have started a business with your own two hands you might not have even thought about the day that you give it all up. An exit strategy is not something entrepreneurs will think about but there comes a time when we all have to leave. But what should we do to make sure we form an adequate exit strategy?

Ask Yourself Three Crucial Questions

You need to ask yourself “how long do I want to stay with the business?” “Do I have any predators or investors to pay off before I leave?” And the last question is “what are my financial goals?” When we have additional financial responsibilities, whether we’ve got involved with private equity administrators or we have to make sure the books are balanced before we leave, this can bring everything into focus. You’ve got to make sure that when you close the door that all the loose ends are tied up. While we hear so many stories about leaders jumping ship does this feel right in a moral sense? When you don’t comply with certain components and you think it’s easier to leave, there could be a multitude of legal problems that follow you. If you’ve decided that a few years in it’s time to leave, it’s important to implement answers to these three crucial questions.

Getting The Process Started

You need to look at your finances first. Preparing an accurate account of your professional and personal finances is crucial. If you spent a long time propping up the business with your own finances it’s time to make sure that the business and personal accounts are well and truly separated. You then need to start thinking about what sort of exit strategy will suit you. The best option relates to making sure you have a clean break with the business. From there, you need to speak to your investors and stakeholders so you can work with them on getting the process started but also helps the investors to get their money repaid. Once you’ve made the decision it’s time to start transferring your responsibilities to a new leader.

Speaking To Your Employees And Customers

This could very well be the most difficult part. Taking the time to tell your employees and customers can be heartbreaking. But when you start to look at everything in the round it could very well be for the best that you go. Maybe it’s time to move on or you are looking to get your teeth stuck into another adventure. And when you’ve built up a business with your own two hands and brought these employees on and seen them develop, it can be a shame to see this business sail away but it’s nice to know the business is in good hands. 

An exit strategy is way down on our list of priorities but we have got to think in terms of the practicalities of the business. Getting ready to go is never easy but it’s something you have to consider. An exit strategy isn’t about making a break with the business but it’s about knowing when you’ve done enough to help it.

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