When it's Time to Call it Quits

Have an Exit Strategy Ready
Every business needs to think about an exit strategy. It's all very well, when things are going well and there is no likelihood of you ever needing to exit from the business. The reality is; things change and before you know it you need to make decisions on the future of the business because of illness, retirement or change of circumstances.

Having an exit plan in place means you will not be under pressure to make hurried decisions, in the event that you need to exit. Part of your exit planning will include finding out the value of your business.

It's a good idea to plan your exit strategy at the beginning of your business. You may want to build up the business and sell it for a quick profit. You may want to build it up over a period of time and then go public, so you can get the value from all the hard work you put into the business. You may want to pass it over to members of the family, or you may simply just want to close the doors.

Whatever your vision for your business, it's a good idea to set this down early, rather than waiting until the last minute. Some exit strategies cannot be completed overnight and may take some years to finalise. Whatever you decide, it is a good idea to put a strategy in place at the earliest.

The Worst Exit Strategy you Can Have
Of all the exit strategies, the one most people use and which is the worst by far, is to manage until you “drop dead” or until you don't have any energy left to continue the operation.

This is probably the worst exit plan of all.

Many people continue to run the business until they simply cannot carry on any more. They either lose interest, or lack the energy, or they die. One morning they wake up and find they cannot face it any more. They then start looking for an exit and because they have not planned for this event, they often take what they can get for the business, just to be free of it.

A mistake some business owners make, when planning to exit, is assuming that getting out of the business is easy. That's generally not true because an exit will often be determined by the views and opinions of others in the business, as well as circumstances beyond the owner's control, such as the market, the industry and the general economy of the country.

The worst exit strategy, therefore, is not doing anything at all and having no plan in place when you need it.