Exit Strategies - Don't wait until it's an emergency.
Many entrepreneurs are at the later stages of their careers and working on their exit strategies. They are discovering that the exit is just as difficult as the start-up.
I recommend that the strategy should include these three steps:
1. VALUE THE BUSINESS
Determine the current valuation of the business as an outsider would see it. Identify the factors that reduce value and the steps that can be taken to improve upon it. Remember that packaging and presentation can make a big difference, but each potential buyer will assign a different value based on their own objectives.
2. IMPROVE ON THE VALUE
Start working on management transition to make the business less dependent on the current owner. Develop your existing team then look to fill the gaps that exist. Stabilize revenue growth, improve profitability and reduce the current business risks.
3. TAKE ACTION
Analyse the strategic options for exit and initiate an action plan. Your best strategy may be a sale, merger/acquisition or management buy-out. Select the option that is best for you and the business and not just the maximum cash payout.
In brief, improve business value by making it more stable, profitable and less dependent on you. Change your role in the business from employee to owner to former owner.
Not simple to do, but it is important to know where you are going before you have to look for the emergency exit.