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Jun 25, 201911:35 AMExit Stage Right

with Martha Sullivan

Want the best vacation of a lifetime?

(page 1 of 2)

So where should we go this year? The Rockies? Yellowstone? Out east? What should we do? Should we go hiking? What if we learn how to sail a big boat and go down the coast? Or, what if we visit all of the major league ballparks?

It’s true. Planning your summer vacation can be fun — a lot of fun. The options are endless and you can tailor the trip to do those things that you enjoy doing. You get to spend time with people you want to be with (unless, of course, you’re the mortified teenager in the back of the minivan.) It’s an exciting project because you get to:

  • Decide who you want to come along with you;
  • Figure out what would be fun to do;
  • Check out places you’ve never considered going to before;
  • Compare the options, what they cost, and what you can afford;
  • Decide how to make the most of the dollars you have to spend;
  • Talk with others about the options and the fun things to do; and
  • Go on vacation!

Sometimes the anticipation of the trip is just as fun as the trip itself. I remember planning a surprise trip to Hawaii for my husband and myself. After over 25 years of marriage, it would be the first time we had escaped kid-free in decades. I had a blast researching where to go, how much it would cost, and so on. I ended up having to share the surprise sooner than I had intended, which actually turned out OK. Then we could both feel the excitement building and talk about how we wanted to share our precious time together. The journey was wonderful!

As it turns out, I am not alone in my willingness to put in the time to plan a kick-tail vacation. According to the Exit Planning Institute, people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they spend planning what I call their “Big Vacation” — the exit from their business.

In The $10 Trillion Opportunity, Richard Jackim notes that only about 28 percent of business owners have done any exit planning whatsoever. Further, over 75 percent of sellers express dissatisfaction after the sale, stating that the process and/or the deal did not meet their personal or financial objectives. Failure to invest in the development of a well-defined exit plan costs the owner plenty, including:

  • Leaving money on the table due to not optimizing the business value or sale process;
  • Unnecessarily sharing too much with Uncle Sam;
  • Loss of control of your exit — when, to whom, etc.; and
  • Failing to realize your goals.

There are many reasons for avoiding planning for the “Big Vacation” according to Jackim, such as

  • Time is already tight;
  • Not knowing where to start;
  • Not knowing who to turn to for help;
  • Reluctance to talk about such personal matters;
  • The process seems overwhelming and complex;
  • Fear of loss of the business, their identity, and their work relationships; and
  • No idea what they will do after.


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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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