Businesses often start with an idea, a limited amount of capital and loads of enthusiasm. Through careful planning and investment they grow and develop eventually becoming worth far more than they originally were. However, a lot of owners make the wrong exit decision and pay a price for it.
Timing your exit is about understanding:
- The best time to realise that value.
- Whether your business has outgrown you.
- Whether the business model is changing (for the worse).
- Whether you have outgrown the business.
Ideally you want to exit your business before its value has peaked. A strong business with a good number of prospects is always going to be easier to sell. Smart owners monitor not only the value of their business but also the expectations for the future. Don’t believe that your business model will be forever constant. Business models must change to survive. However, challenges spark change, which in turn ignites reinvention and new beginnings. It’s a choice that opens new doors, offers the promise of new opportunities and increases our chances of success.
This change can be driven by the owners or it may be driven by changes in the industry but for most people the danger is that their business or organisation model is changing and they do not realise it.
And in the same way that your business can outgrow you, you may be outgrowing it. This does not apply to everyone, but some business owners lose their enthusiasm once the business has grown to a certain stage – and a loss of enthusiasm translates into a dilution in business value. Where they relished the challenge of growing the business, they may become bored with the sameness of a mature model. This is when ‘fresh blood’ needs to introduced to ensure on-going success.