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Dec 20, 201812:56 PMExit Stage Right

with Martha Sullivan

Introducing the 5 stages of business value maturity

(page 2 of 2)

Build: Only once you’ve taken risk out of the business and strengthened your infrastructure should you actively undertake serious growth initiatives in your company. Growing without the infrastructure is like building out a duplex on the foundation for a tiny house.

Harvest: Assuming you’ve balanced the company through your efforts in the Protect and Build stages, you will be able to routinely ask yourself whether you want to continue to operate and grow the company, or you believe it’s time to harvest it and your investment in it so you can go do something else. Depending on the answer, your priorities, and more importantly investment of time, resources, and money, will change.

Manage: Upon arriving at this stage, you are much more informed and prepared to manage both the value of your company and your overall wealth. Decisions are made through a stronger lens and filter, aligned with your business and personal goals.

Chris Snider, my friend and the author of Walking to Destiny, describes these stages in a linear manner. While there is merit to this view, I prefer to see the path of the five stages as more of a circle than a straight line. A truly mature company recognizes that it’s important to be constantly assessing where it’s at, protecting its transferability, growing and setting the stage for its future. Even if you decide it’s time to sell and harvest the business, there is the still the need to wrap back around, assess progress, and protect what you’ve built as you move toward a transition.

In the coming blogs, I will dive deeper into each of the five stages and the best practices we’ve seen used in each of these efforts.

In the meantime, think about it. Where would you say your company is at? Is it time to find out?

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About This Blog

Spending half her career as an advisor to privately-held and family businesses and the other half in CFO/COO roles, Martha Sullivan is a partner and the succession planning practice leader in the business transition strategies group at Honkamp, Krueger & Co., P.C. She and her team have extensive experience assisting business owners achieve their personal, business, and transition goals. “Don’t think of the 'exit' from your business like it’s a four-letter word. Make it your next adventure!”



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