Depending on the industry you are in, your interpretation of ‘long-term’ will vary considerably. In oil exploration or pharmaceutical development ‘long-term’ can run into decades, for an online retailer your horizon will be considerably shorter. However, what about your personal long-term planning? If you own your business, either alone or with other shareholders, what have you planned for? At some point in the future your ownership and leadership of the company will cease – are you prepared? No matter what industry you are in you need to plan for when you decide to step back or move on to something new. You need an exit plan.
Leaving to chance the end of your tenure in charge of the business is by its nature a pretty risky thing to do. Even if your personal financial needs are already covered the process of selling your shareholding can be tricky and frustrating – even if you plan to pass it on to your management team or family. But in all likelihood you will be relying upon a good financial outcome as well as wanting the process to be as smooth as possible. That’s where an exit plan comes in to its own.
While running your business you will appreciate that one important capability is being able to create certainty, taking out some of the variations and anticipating some of the uncertainties of business life. The ability to set a goal and plan your activities to get there is a characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. Some might be tempted to roll their eyes at more ‘planning’, but the alternative is leaving things to chance, yet the final act of your business ownership could be the most important in terms of your and your family’s future.
What does an exit plan comprise? It starts with a thorough review of your personal requirements from your exit. This includes the obvious things such as the net financial gain from the sale of your shares and its timing, through to the type of transition and protection of the things that are important to you.
Next comes an assessment of your business to ascertain whether its current capabilities and plans will give you the outcome you desire. If it will, carry on; if not we will help you adjust your plans to deliver the exit you need. And it doesn’t stop with the plan – our long and successful experience of supporting business owners with their growth plans means we can work alongside you to ensure your stay on track to your successful exit.
If your long-term planning horizon falls into a two to five year view we can help clarify your vision and support your progress. Find out how we can help you.