Many business owners hope that they will be able to execute an exit strategy one day, leaving their company to grow without them at the helm. If this is your goal, you need to set down a good foundation now, well before your planned exit.
Establishing a foundation early on may seem like something that you can get to later, particularly if your planned exit isn’t for a decade or longer. In some cases, this may be true. However, the implementing strategies below provides several benefits:
1. Creating a firm foundation from which your business can grow while you are still at the helm.
2. Easing employee training and providing critical employees with more time to do their jobs.
3. Allowing for ease in transition as you hire new staff, particularly executives.
4. Mitigating the impact of your exit on the company as a whole.
These factors are all compelling reasons to begin working on foundational actions now, rather than waiting until later.
How to Establish a Foundation for Your Exit Strategy
The strategies below will both help you establish a firm foundation for your exit and provide the solid ground from which your company can continue to expand. Here are five actions that you can take right away to help your business grow while also supporting a future exit:
1. Document processes and procedures
One fantastic way to ensure your business is on firm ground is to document the processes and procedures your teams use every day. Providing this information in comprehensive, step-by-step documents allows employees to duplicate a winning formula over and over again.
Keep in mind that this documentation will need to be dynamic. That means that you or your team will need to revisit the documentation periodically to ensure that new information is integrated. For example, if you have implemented a new software system, your team needs to ensure the system’s use is integrated into the documentation.
2. Create a knowledge transfer system
Most company owners assume that documentation around knowledge transfer is only for software developers. This is far from the case. The concept here is to take all of that vital knowledge that lives in your mind and key employees’ minds and then document it.
That way, if, for example, you decide to exit, you won’t have to train the next company president for years. In the short term, establishing knowledge transfer is incredibly beneficial. If you want to take an interruption-free vacation, ensuring that vital information is documented and passed on to the person taking over while you are gone means that questions are answered in the documentation you’ve provided. This makes for an interruption-free vacation.
Setting up a culture of knowledge transfer in your company is beneficial to employees, too. Ideally, your employees will stay with your company for years to come. The vital information they gain about the company, clients, and industry, can be documented so that they can continue to grow from their positions. Creating a knowledge transfer system may open the door to a busy salesperson gaining an assistant or other supports.
3. Revisit your company purpose
You likely built your company with a purpose. It could be that you wanted to fill a niche or create a great customer experience. You may have wanted to work in an industry that excites you, and you wanted to improve the field. You may love helping people.
No matter the purpose, revisit it often as you go through the documentation steps above. Many employees want to be motivated by more than simply having a job to clock into every day. Sharing and collaborating about the purpose of your business as you and your team implement systematization ensures that this foundational principle lives on – even after you exit.
4. Identify areas that you have to monitor continually
If you are constantly putting out fires in a particular area, it will be tough for you to transition out of the company. As you prepare for an exit, think about what areas worry you the most. Where do you have to jump in and help consistently? Why is that? Is the area unorganized? Understaffed? Both?
Now is the time to really tackle the problem areas in your company and get them running smoothly – well before your exit.
5. Get help with your exit preparation
Most business owners want to exit their company at some point. Not all manage it – or manage to do so gracefully. You can exit your company gracefully, knowing it is in good hands, but you may need some help to do so.
Get in touch with the team at Business Success Consulting Group to execute your exit preparation. We will work with you to systematize your business and help you find a great exit consultant when you are ready. Contact us today!