Perhaps to some it sounds a little pessimistic to talk about having an exit strategy for a business you haven’t yet started, however, an exit strategy is actually a very wise move. We talk all about the things you need to consider when starting a business in our Small Business Management Course, but of equal importance is how you’ll end the business, which is something you need to consider when writing your Business Plan.
How Will You End It All?
Knowing how you’ll exit your business when the time comes will determine a framework for how you’ll set up your business up in the first place. This could involve creating a name for your business, rather than using your own name, so that you can sell your business later without having to relinquish your right to use your own name.
Exit strategies have never been more important than they are today when it’s not uncommon for a start-up to be sold maybe two or three years after its inception. Take Flickr, the image hosting website, as an example of case in point; it was only 18 months old when it was sold to Yahoo! for $30 million in 2005.
Three Key Reasons to Have an Exit Strategy
We spoke to our network of fellow entrepreneurs and business owners recently, and they gave us three reasons every business should have an exit strategy.
1. It gives you a roadmap: Mark Darling of Sip Water says: “Begin with the end in mind.” Operating a business without an exit strategy is like going on a road trip without taking a map. “How are you going to get there if you don’t know where there is?” The smaller things tend to fall into place much more easily when the bigger things have been decided.
2. It’s motivating: “When you’re working towards a specific goal, it really helps you to stay motivated on those days when everything seems to be going wrong,” says Vic Cherikoff of Australian Functional Foods. Your exit strategy helps you to put certain problems in perspective.
3. Get the best sale price: “Knowing when and how you will sell your business can help you think about what you need to do to maximise your business’s value,” explains Robert Crane of CIA OPS. Without an exit strategy, you may find yourself accepting fire sale prices just because you want to exit your business quickly. Having an exit strategy helps you avoid this.
Having an exit strategy is just as important as having a start-up strategy. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow it down to the letter. Like most things in life, often the best-laid plans don’t actually go to plan, but having a framework to work off will help to make your business more successful and ultimately, more profitable in the long run.
You can find out more about writing a business plan in our Small Business Management Course by clicking here.