But having an idea of when you will leave your business has benefits -- even when you don’t want to sell for some time.
Why? For these three reasons.
1. Provides a road map to your destination
Once you know your destination, consider the routes that take you there. Plan the journey you want and how fast you want to go. Do you want to take side trips along the way? Will they enhance the value of your trip? Or, will they be costly distractions.
Your exit plan guides you through the process of leaving your business.
2. Increases your motivation
Just as you know that in a few hours you will be passing that last mile post on the way to the beach house or the ski slope, an exit plan provides the vision necessary to keep you going through each step of the process. Small challenges will become like hours in the car, nights in motel rooms, and fast food meals. Understand they are an expected part of the journey, they won’t overwhelm you like a 10-car pileup.
An exit plan provides for the major challenges as well. With emergency plans in place and alternate routes mapped out, you're more likely to reach your destination with your dream in one piece.
3. Improves your business sale price
Shortcuts need to be evaluated to see if they really save you time and money. The needs of the passengers – employees, family -- who travel with you should be considered. Changes in plan may be inevitable, especially if your destination is years away. But adjustments can be made thoughtfully, so that you get back on course, or reap the benefits an alternative destination brings.
Your exit plan maps the tasks you will need to accomplish by a predetermined time. It pinpoints the structures you need to put in place to maximize the value of your business.
Learning what drives your business' value provides the necessary context to make critical strategic decisions. Now you will take the steps to improve the appeal of your business.
I recommend a roadmap review every year for my clients. We determine where we are, what needs to be put in place, and if our destination is still the same. Planning for your exit is one of the most critical steps in the management of your business. Make it a priority for this year’s planning sessions.
Go somewhere you really want! Make your exit plan - you'll be happy you did.