When I work with clients, I ask them about their exit plans.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s used to describe what happens with a company when ownership changes hands.

The most publicized scenarios are major mergers and acquisitions.  When Disney bought Pixar, that was a big deal.  But every business has to go through various stages of its life, whether planned or not.

You’re just starting out in a new business venture.  An EXIT plan?  Are you crazy?  Let’s see if this thing flies first!

OK, the exit PLAN itself isn’t the most important thing at this stage.  It’s the thought process that’s important, which is why I ask about it.  This discussion takes you through some important points:

  • What are my personal goals around owning and leading this company?
  • Am I hoping that this company will go in a certain direction, that it will look different 10 years from now?
  • What would happen to the company if I got seriously ill for a few months?
  • Is it important that this business would survive my departure?
  • Who would I want to protect?
  • How much do I want the company to be identified with me personally?
  • Is the long term goal of this company to sell it?

The answers to these questions help you TODAY to create the company that you’ll be happy with.  They give you additional “big picture” information which can make decisions easier, and give you a result you’ll be happy with.