Selling your business. The value of a strategic exit plan.

Selling your business - strategic exit plans

Other than losing your virginity, there’s not many things you’ll only do once.  Selling your business is, perhaps one of them!

OK, I caught your attention with the rather childish opener! But seriously, selling a business is a major decision and one that can be daunting.  But there is help out there and not just in the form of accounts, lawyers and so on.

Having exited a few, I know the strain a business exit can bring, not only to the founder but to the founder’s family.  I learnt early on that any good business leader needs an “Exit Strategy”.  The truly great business minds will often plan their exit before their business is truly in a position to extract the true value. 

This “strategic plan” for an entrepreneur (or group of stakeholders), to sell their ownership gives founders an efficient way to reduce (or liquidate) their holding in a business. Of course, if the business is profitable, the upside can be considerable in terms of wealth creation.  But, for a loss-making venture, a well-executed exit plan may, on the contrary, see the owner limit their losses! Two very different results but both would be considered “successful’.

Exits rarely happen in short time-frames! The typical business owner has usually committed years (or decades) of effort before deciding to exit.  Having someone “in your corner” who has been through an exit, someone who understands the emotional strain of what you are going through, can be invaluable.  Trust me.

Whether it’s income replacement, tax efficiency or capital safeguarding, all need careful consideration; but these considerations are often in the hands of the accountants, lawyers and potentially wealth managers.  Non-Executives, with their experience, steady hand and black book of contacts, can really make a positive impact for the other, less “black and white” matters.  For clarity I am talking about the emotional aspects of any business sale.

Unfortunately, entrepreneurs who do not have an exit strategy will, at some point, exit their businesses unprepared. And you know the quote here?  Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!  Not all business exits come about because the founder chooses that route. Some may have a very different reasons (other than retirement, wealth or the desire to pursue other challenges!)  Death, family circumstances and yes, even divorce can lead to an early exit.

A professional, outside of your business, may pick up on certain things you haven’t.  At, many members are seasoned, strategic-exit experts, who can help you formulate your exit plans.  And the best news of all, it is free to search and connect with this valuable community of experts!

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