To What End?

Wining races is not left to luck alone and luck should not be your business exit strategy!

We know when we started our business; do you know when to end it?

It's relatively easy to define our beginning point when we started the business and we can certainly define the process of running the business. Ask us to define the end or finish line and you will probably get the, palms-up salute. Ugh...mmm...Good question. - No, *Run it till I drop* is not a good answer!

Take a look at a typical race; say a horse race for the sake of a visual. The race starts at an easily defined starting point and continues until it reaches a well-defined ending called The Finish Line. When the finish line is crossed it's pretty easy to determine who came in first, second and so on. In other words, it's pretty easy to define the level of success achieved by each participant.

What makes us appreciate a great race is the fact that we see a definite start and can easily define an ending. We are able to clearly appreciate the efforts of all participants and vicariously experience the thrill of crossing the finish line with them.

It should be the same in your own business. The satisfaction of owning your own business will never be fully realized or appreciated by you unless you have defined an ending. You can only have an ending by defining it right at the beginning. - Can you imagine a race with only a beginning and no finish line? Sounds pretty exhausting and never really satisfying for you or anyone else, isn't it?

Yet many business owners start various enterprises, investing and virtually signing away their lives, and never really think about where they are racing off to!

If you are in business now, you may be questioning 'To What End' am I doing this?

Do not despair it is never too late to define your finish line. If you are just starting your business, then define a strategic ending now and if you are in the middle of running your enterprise, take time out to define the ending.

In business terminology, an ending for a business owner is called an Exit. The planning of a defined ending is called an *Exit Strategy*.Having an exit strategy speaks volumes of you as a business owner. It tells others that have the occasion to view your business that;

1. You are in control of your business from the start.
2. That you are aware and goal focused while you are running it.
3. You have a plan for an organized and profitable ending.

When you have a clear exit strategy, you are better able to make the right business related decisions in the moment. These decisions will tend to be more in line with your strategic vision.

Here is a small sampling of typical Exit strategies:

Selling all or part of the business for a nice gain
Handing the business down to siblings
Taking the business 'Public'
Being "Taken Out" by a competitor or vendor

There are many combinations of the above "Exits" and not any one exit plan is appropriate for all businesses. The key is to start to define your own exit strategy today. Keep in mind that defining an exit strategy is a process that requires a well thought out plan. This plan is not something you will finish in ten minutes and something you should continue to revisit as your business grows.

With your exit plan in hand, work each day at making the decisions and moves that will position your business to reach your exit goal. Doing this, you will find that running your business will be a much more fruitful and fulfilling experience. Wining races is not left to luck alone and luck should not be your business exit strategy!

Best of Success,
Rich Becerra

Rich Becerra is a business process consultant for small and medium sized businesses. Currently with Administaff, Inc., this publicly traded company (ASF) provides HR solutions for small to medium sized business in all 50 states. With over 80,000 employees, Administaff is the nations leading Professional Employer Organization. To contact Rich: (800) 203-0240 or mailto:rich_becerra@administaff.com.


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