“What the heck is Exit Planning anyway? What are you doing over there?”
This is a question I hear a lot.
As a Coach, I’ve developed a specialty: creating work-life balance for stressed out business owners. Maybe you know one?
And whether they’ve been in business for one year or 3 decades they all share this one thing in common: they’re working too hard for the money they’re bringing in.
When we work together on their exit planning, we set boundaries, learn how to say ‘No’, release crippling histories that were running them beneath the surface, and implement innovative strategies to increase revenue and free up their time.
Through Exit Planning we create a business that is liberated, profitable, and utterly sellable
A few years ago, I noticed my demographic shifting from newer business owners to Owners who had been doing their thing for 5 or more years.
Owners who had a bricks and mortar business (a real physical location).
Owners who had contractors and employees.
Owners who had revenues of $500,000-$10 million per year and up.
Owners who, even though they loved their business, were ready for more life in their work-life balance.
As I continued to work with them to create the freedom they deserved and so desperately needed, a pattern developed:
We had to get them OUT of their business so that they could work ON their business.
That’s why I developed my unique method of Exit Planning
You see, most of my Owners were still involved in the daily grind of doing their business, whether it was bookkeeping or home services, or insurance sales, or whatever business they were in, they were still doing it.
Still making calls.
Still picking up pieces and putting out fires.
It was almost impossible to get ‘good’ people and keep them.
It was almost impossible to delegate successfully.
And these issues were aging my Owners far faster than a healthy business would have.
As I worked more and more with this type of client I realized that it was the sweetest, most joyful work I’ve been blessed to do.
Because these people – you people! – are DO-ers!!
You’re committed to doing what needs to be done to get where you need to go.
You get commitment. You get showing up. You get working through the discomfort.
You get it.
You’ve built a successful business and now you’re looking to create the freedom that a successful business should bring with it and that you dream of having.
You’re tired and you’re tired of being tired.
And that’s why you need an Exit Plan.
Because EVERY business owner needs to think about their exit.
No matter how much you love your business, you can’t stay there forever.
One day you’ll want to do something else.
One day you’ll want to travel more.
One day you’ll want to retire (at least for a little while!).
One day you’ll want to discover your passionate purpose and live it fully.
One day you’ll want more time with your family.
One day your health won’t be what it is and you’ll need time to heal and relax.
And, one day, every single one of us will die.
Yup. Every single one of us. Let’s just get it out there in the open.
In some way, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, each one of us will leave the company we have lovingly created and nurtured and built.
For me and my clients?
We want to control that process as much as possible.
That means Exit Planning.
You Can’t Just Sell Your Business on a Whim
Most Owners think that they’ll just sell their business when they’re ready to retire… or they’ll give it to their kids… or they’ll sell it to their employees… but however they think they’ll do it, they’re focused on that sale.
And they’re so, so wrong.
This is the part that you, as the Owner, must completely get in your neurology:
It takes anywhere from 3-10 years to successfully prepare and exit your company in a way that meets your values-driven and financial goals.
3 to 10 years!
(take a breath and let it sink in)
The Best Time to Start Exit Planning is Now
Which means that the best time to start exit planning is now, while you still have some passion and drive in you.
The best time to start preparing is now, while you still have time to get key people in place, increase your company’s value, and take the steps you’ll need to take to protect (as much as possible) your assets from taxation.
What I discovered is that this process – exit planning – is desperately needed but unknown by the vast majority of business owners… especially those making less than $5 million.
Big companies? Public companies?
You can bet your bottom dollar they have their secession strategies and contingency plans in place.
But the ‘middle market’ and ‘main street’ companies? The ones under $5-$10 million?
You’ve been so busy building your business that the thought of what you’ll do after your business has only been a hazy daydream.
And that needs to change.
As soon as possible.
Because the truth is that less than 30% of companies ever sell successfully.
Most just close their doors and walk away.
And that breaks my heart.
Not Ready to Retire? You Still Need Exit Planning
What I’ve learned is that even if your time horizon is longer than 5-10 years, exit planning helps to increase revenues, increase profits, decrease stress, increase vacation time, and give you the freedom that you have been desperately missing.
Getting your business ready to sell means having a business that works, day in and day out, to make your life better while serving your people and community in a much more powerful way.
It’s the most liberating experience you can imagine.
And if your timeline is less than 10 years? Then we need to talk now.
So, that’s the longer answer to: What’s going on over there? What the heck is an Exit Planner anyway?
The short answer:
I help Entrepreneurs and Owners transform their 24/7-job-pretending-to-be-a-business into a real business that generates profit, is utterly sellable, and gives you the freedom you need to step into the next phase of living your life purpose.
That’s why I do exit planning and that’s why it will change everything for you in all the best ways.
Questions? Thoughts? Need support to create the business that you dream about?
Vanessa Long is an Exit Strategist, Business Coach, Board Certified Trainer, and Master NLP Coach. She is the creator of Discovering Your Passionate Purpose™, the PARTY Goal Getting System™, the PowerHouse Mastermind, and the V-Factor Business Re-Boot.
She works with Entrepreneurs and Owners to create exit strategies, work-life balance, and businesses that are liberated, profitable, and utterly sellable.