Is Your Business Ready for You to Leave?

Businessman with World on ShouldersLast week I post a question, “What’s Your Greatest Challenge in Exiting Your Business?”, on LinkedIn.  My intent was to get some feedback before writing the next few weeks’ posts on “exit/succession planning.”

While I got a few interesting comments, which I plan to write on later.  I was surprised at how few takers I had on the question!

The lack of response caused me to ponder.  Why don’t more business owners think about how they will exit their business?  I had a lot of thoughts, but I think it’s more denial than anything else.

Here are the answers I get most frequently:

  1. They love doing what they do
  2. Exiting means retiring
  3. They never thought about it in the first place
  4. They’re not ready to leave it yet
  5. It’s their baby and they could never see anyone else running it

Is one of these answers yours?  If so, you’re not alone.  I hear these all the time. And, I ask the question ALL the time!

Exit PlanningWhy do I ask the question so much? Because the answer to this question has a huge impact on the strategies and tactics you use in building your business.  To see more on this topic read my previous post titled #1 Reason Exit Planning Is So Critical When Starting Your Business.

Here is another critical factor to build your business to operate without you.  What happened to your family, employees and their families if you get hit by a bus?  Yes, the dreaded “hit by a bus scenario.”  But, have you ever really considered what would happen!!!  If you did, you’d give you succession plan a little more priority.

With the exception of #5 above all the other scenarios aren’t really affected by making your business ready for you to exit.  Just because your business doesn’t rely on you doesn’t mean that you have to leave it.  You can continue to take on a day-to-day role in the business.  But, wouldn’t it be less stressful knowing that you don’t have to?

The other thing is that every day that your business is dependent on you means everyone that relies on your business is also at risk!  You know how uneasy you feel when you or your business is reliant on someone else.  Not addressing the exit strategy is doing the same thing by adding risk.

So, an added benefit to creating self-sustainability in your business is that your business is worth more. Ask any business broker or valuator, and they tell you that dependence on the owner increases risk and decreases value!

In the next few weeks I will be exploring this topic in more depth so stay tune.  In the meantime give me some feedback – What’s Your Greatest Challenge in Exiting Your Business?