Exit Strategy: 5 Tips for Women Business Owners
Plan the end at the beginning. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of a business plan - a roadmap of where you are going and how you are going to get there. But just like any itinerary, the critical piece to the plan is the destination. In the case of a business, that destination is the sale.
(1) always run your business as if it were for sale. Take care of your customers and your employees as if they were family. Get them to sign contracts whenever possible.
(2) be clear on your goals for a sale. Are you interested in staying with the company long term? Do you want to cash out completely? Do you want to earn more money if the company grows after you are gone? Do you want your employees to have security for at least a short time after you leave?
(3) keep quiet until the deal is finalized. Employees have enough to worry about. Business deals fall apart every day at the last minute. No one benefits from information that is premature in this circumstance.
(4) find a buyer that provides you with a sense of comfort and get promises in writing. Again, often a lot is said while you are selling the business and the buyer is buying the business. But the only thing that counts is what the finally document reads. Get it in writing!
(5) put yourself and your future first. It's your trip. Make sure it is worth the investment.