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4 tips for exiting your business the right way

Photo of Merle F. Wilberding

Just as a new business is most likely to succeed if the owners have a clear plan, so too will an owner enjoy a more successful exit if he or she plans the exit in advance. Whether you are retiring, starting a family or ready for new challenges, a good exit plan will set you on the right path to making your goals a reality.

An article in Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal provides four steps for plotting a successful exit from your business. Here they are:

1. Set your goals. What kind of lifestyle do you envision after you leave, and how much money will you need? This could help you decide whether to ask for a lump-sum buyout or an ongoing series of payments. You will also have the chance to decide how you will spend your time and energy after you are out of the business.

2. Seek the support of stakeholders. Of course, your decision to exit will affect several other people, including your employees and family. They may suddenly find themselves with more responsibility after you go, or need to find someone new to take over your duties. If so, make sure your successor will be able to handle it.

3. Assess the business. Exiting may be the right time to sell the business, which means it's time to make it as valuable as possible. This may require an honest assessment of the company's ability to operate when you are gone, and beginning to groom your replacement now.

4. Execute your plan. Stick to the road map to ensure you leave the business in a strong position.

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