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May 14, 201910:44 AMExit Stage Right

with Martha Sullivan

Most powerful secret every entrepreneur should know

(page 2 of 2)

Do you challenge yourself to look at your company that way? Few business owners do. First, they don’t intend to “flip” the company. Second, they’re having fun running it.

However, wise ones do. They know that life happens, and they want to be as agile as possible.

For example:

  • There’s a 50-50 chance that you could be forced to “give it away” at a time you don’t want to. Life has a way of getting in the way. Death, disability, divorce, disagreement, or distress could knock on your door tomorrow and all of a sudden you’ll need to sell the business.
  • Lots of things bring meaning to your life. What happens when you want to go do something different? Perhaps you’re feeling burnt out by the business. Many owners are. It’s in the running as the number-one reason for selling a company these days, according to the International Business Broker Association’s Market Pulse report. Be sure to care for the whole you — your personal, financial, and business well-being. As my mom used to say, “Balance, Martha.” Don’t be a slave to your company. Nurture those other interests. They can open new paths for you.
  • It’s best to transition a business when you and it are strong, not burnt out. Think about it, would you want to hang out with someone who is a tired, fried, fuddy-duddy? Are you going to invest time and energy into that? Companies are more attractive to buyers when you and your team have gas in the tank to go enjoy the next big thing.

Successful entrepreneurs get it. They understand that the most important thing for their success, and that of their company, is to build it for the next guy — every single day.

So, how about it? What are you going to do starting today?

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May 23, 2019 02:43 pm
 Posted by  nfauerbach

Good observations and advice, Martha. A question that I ask business owners is "What is your exit strategy?" I usually get two answers: "I don't have one." or " a well thought out strategy of preparing the business for sale to a strategic buyer. The second one sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The first one will suffer the burn-out you mention.

Family businesses have a whole different set of issues. The light at the end of the tunnel involves the grooming of the next generation. There are best practices in how to accomplish this baton passing we have learned from successful multi-generational family businesses. There are many resources to learn about the best practices. One suggestion I have is to talk to Martha.

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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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