Entrepreneurs – 5 Keys to An Exit Strategy That Works

Whether you want to pass on your business to a family member, sell it to an individual, or sell it to another company- keep these 5 strategies in mind as you grow your business:

Key #1- Create Your Operations Manual.  Develop your  Operation Manual that describes all the processes and systems in your business.  Think about new potential customer systems, client care systems, daily operations, and team communication- to name a few.  With an Operations Manual in place, you are able to run a much more efficient, effective business and it is much easier for a future buyer to replicate and improve upon your company if you have an up-to-date Operations Manual.  It is often the difference between a chaotic, unorganized business and one that runs like a well-oiled machine.

Key #2 – Document increased profits each year.  If you don’t have a book-keeper who documents your income, expenses, and profits, hire one.  If your profits are minimal, work with a business coach to determine what needs to change.  A better team? Improved low-cost marketing strategies? Better systems? More incentive-based pay for your team?  Creative ways to lower your expenses? And so on. 

Key #3 – Maintain a happy, highly productive team.  Even if your entire team is one assistant, s/he needs to be very good at what she does and enjoy doing it.   Be sure to give a clear description of your expectations for each employee/contractor.  If a team member is not doing an excellent job, work to help them improve and fire them if they don’t.  You can’t afford the multiple negative effects of a dysfunctional or unproductive team.  And your business will be much more attractive to a prospective buyer when it is supported with an awesome team.

Key #4 – Be prepared to demonstrate growth potential.  Prospective buyers want to know that your business has excellent potential for growth.  Does your business have “horizontal scalability”- the ability to sell more products or services to your existing customer base?  Does it have “vertical scalability”?  Can you add a lot more customers without adding much to your costs?  How is its “geographic scalability”? Can it work in another location or a different city?  Think through the various measures and ways that you can increase the scalability of your business.

Key #5 – Don’t wait until after the sale to live life on your own terms!  Are you exhausting yourself with your work? You are not alone.  It’s the #1 complaint I hear from entrepreneurs.  Thinking of the good life after your business ends?  Stop that!  Ditch the archaic belief that long hours creates a better business.  Efficiency and productivity is what creates a better business.  With the right focus,  effective systems, and an excellent team, you can enjoy a profitable, efficient business without the long hours. 

And let’s face it…life is short.  The relationships you care about are the one you have now and the memories you will have later are the memories you make now.  So don’t put it off any longer, develop the efficiency you need in your business to enjoy the life you want now!

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