Prepare to Exit
"Plans are worthless, but planning is essential"
The above quote is widely attributable to President Dwight Eisenhower, although he gave credit to an anonymous soldier in a written variation of the saying.
The contradictory phrase has a powerful lesson in it. Even though a specific plan can fall flat at the time of need, the act of planning is invaluable. It forces an analysis of various scenarios that could occur, which helps prepare for those unforeseen events as well.
Planning for the future does not mean knowing exactly how events will unfold. Planning provides the knowledge and thoughtfulness to react appropriately in the face of uncertainty.
When it comes to an exit strategy for business owners, however, there is more control over the outcome as long as it has been planned for. Exit strategies can take on any number of possible structures. Thinking through the process well in advance brings a level of certainty and optionality in case there is a need to exit sooner than expected.
Whether it is a transition to a younger generation or an outright sale, exiting a small business is a highly emotional event, especially for founders. Prior planning creates a framework that keeps the sellers’ ultimate goals in mind. Decisions will be based on thoughtful analysis and less susceptible to visceral reactions.
We’ve previously wrote about preparing for uncertainty. It is an important topic that deserves further attention. For more, watch the video below from our partners at eMoney.
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