Here’s a simple question to ask any business owner, why are you in business? The answer to such a simple question can be very enlightening. The flippant answer is to make money: an honest, if not inspiring answer; but there is a fundamental flaw in that statement which many business owners fails to comprehend. They start a business, typically through experience in, or a passion in the field or because they have seen an opportunity to make money, but fail to achieve that ultimate goal because they fail to plan their exit strategy. Planning your exit strategy is the hidden key to business success.
Start with the END in Mind Strategy
Most business owners focus solely on profitability as their key measure of success. Yet making a profit from a business is more than just yearly profitability. It is also about building a business which is an asset that your target buyer is looking to buy. If you can’t get out making the money you intended to when you sell up, then why did you set up the business in the first place?
You have a great idea, you work on it, and spend your energy (and life) building it until it becomes you. It succeeds, and you enjoy the lifestyle it brings then the challenge of maximising that income to free yourself up and retire or do something else with your success. That final stage often becomes impossible because you are the business and it is you, its lifeblood, main cheerleader and driving engine.
This typical scenario of being a business owner, is driven by the passion to run the business day-to-day overshadowing the failure to plan your exit strategy from the start. That is building a business with a clear objective to enable the owner to get out and maximising their income from what they have achieved. Nearly all business owners focus on building a successful business, but not on making sure they maximise their returns from the successful ownership of the business.
The real payback from all that hard work in creating and setting up a business for an entrepreneur is the final payback, the exit payoff. It is the value creation in within the business, the shareholder value being realised by a sale of that business, which makes al the hard work worth it. Few owners think about realising their shareholder value. Most being more interested in the Profit and Loss than the Balance Sheet when making key decisions about the business. That approach is effectively summarised in the phrase;
the turnover is vanity,
profit is sanity and
cash is king,
A great motto in the running of any business, but it does not hold true in achieving a successful exit strategy success, as a business owner. I would add to that classic phrase;
success is true shareholder value
Achieving shareholder success is the key motto to follow if you want to have a saleable asset, that reflects the true value of your business when you decide to sell u and move on. Owners need to focus of developing an exit strategy which achieve their personal goals. While profit and cash rule the day, building a valuable asset requires building shareholder value, through building sustainable long-term profitability. Building the business assets, the real shareholder value, needs to include strategies around Intellectual Property (IP), long term profitable contracts, strategic relationships and operational excellence that maximise the company’s value to targeted purchasers.
Successful Business Planning
Success in business requires owners to build a business which you own, but one you are not concreted into the foundations of its success. Building a forward strategy for your business is a vital first step in building your exit strategy, it is the old adage that you need to work on it not in it which underpins all successful entrepreneurs. Building the forward strategy to exit, is therefore different that just building a successful business. Planning from start to exit, means focusing on the exit strategy requirement of increasing shareholder value which is recognised as valuable assets by target buyer audiences.
Short-term profitability is always an important goal, but long-term share value is a strategic consideration which owners need to consider in building the value of their business. If you would like to discuss this article further or further information about our services in working with business owners in achieving successful exit strategies then contact us at email@example.com or see our contact page for further options.