When starting a business it can be a sound plan to think of your end goal at the same time.
There’s a lot written about the ageing population and its potential impact on the economy but what does ageing mean for a small business?
It typically takes a lot of energy and planning to get a garden retail business started and a lot to keep going and keep growing. So it seems completely counter-intuitive to start a business with the exit in mind and few of us are prepared to do it.
You start with a dream and the tenacious passion to make it real and then the day to day running of the business takes over because you just want it to grow. At that stage most of us view succession planning like retiring – who wants to plan for an event that’s not going to occur for years and years!
When do you start thinking realistically about what you want to happen when you retire, or if you become seriously ill, or when you no longer have the desire to continue?
For some it’s hard to think about. Often garden retail owners talk in terms of funding a lifestyle when they discuss their business desires with us, but actual reality is, work is their lifestyle. Straight up, they would rather go out in a box with their boots still on.
But then what happens to the business? Economically it’s a waste – a waste of business assets, customer base and loyalty, employee skill development and knowledge; it’s a waste of a dream and the hard work it took to make it real.
What’s your plan? How do you start even thinking about all this? What do you want to see happen? How much money do you need to retire?
IN SEARCH OF SUCCESS(ORS)
Do you have family members working in the business who are interested in taking the business on?
Do they have all the training and experience they need? What about your team or Franchisees?
Do they have management and leadership potential which could be developed further? It doesn’t have to be a single individual – there might be a couple of key people motivated to form an effective partnership with some serious buying power.
Is this a good time to start a conversation?
ALTERNATIVES TO EXIT
If the idea of selling the business and retiring to a beautiful lifestyle bores you to snores, don’t think of it terms of a complete cessation. If you find the right people it might be feasible to keep an interest in the business as well as a slice of decision-making.
It could free you up sufficiently to discover more of the great lifestyle you could have had, if you’d ever had time to have a life. At the same time, you’ll be able to share the rich business knowledge you’ve built up and you’ll have the added satisfaction of seeing the business continue to grow.
READY TO SELL
If selling is your best option, is your business ‘sale ready’? To achieve the best possible price, you need your business to be in the best possible shape when it goes up for sale.
You need to analyse your business from the point of view of a potential buyer.
Is there clear documentation on the business processes and performance?
Is your business performing at peak?
What would it take to be ready for sale and what is the most realistic timeframe to achieve it?
A plan to ensure the business can continue to operate successfully without YOU is essential if you are wanting to take a more passive role, retire or if you are considering selling.
It’s best to think about it when you first start or buy into the business as part of a wider plan that ensures your business is always ready for transition.
These are all things we can help with. At the very least, we can help you to start the conversation and work out a plan.
- Joy Lamb