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How to Plot Your Exit Strategy From a Business

Selling and leaving your business can be an exciting time. You’re either retiring or moving on to bigger and better projects – and both of those are worth celebrating. Just make sure that you check all the right boxes so that everything works out when you go.

Tap Your Successor

You’ve got to have a plan for a clean transition of power. Even if it’s just with a co-owner who has already been with the business for a while, it’s worth it to communicate expectations just in case. If you don’t have such an obvious choice for a successor, maybe choose a family member, trusted associate, or valued employee to take the mantle. You might simply be selling your business and passing on the leadership to a stranger (or at least another businessman you don’t know very well). That can be a particularly difficult process, so make sure that you contractually and legally keep the things in place that are important to you. Use experienced employees to counsel the new owner as they go about learning the process.

Find Out How Much it’s Worth

Understanding just what exactly you’re getting out of the transition will be important. To make plans for the future – both for yourself and for the business – you need to know what kinds of funds you’ll have moving forward. This is especially true if, again, the business is being sold (although you might still get some kind of annuity if you’re just retiring). You’re going to want to hire a professional to help you get an accurate estimate of what it’s worth. It can take months to evaluate your business to get an accurate valuation, so make sure you start the process long before you plan to sell.

Securing Your Future

Before everyone else is taken care of (from your successor to your employees to the IRS), you need to know what you’re going to do. You shouldn’t sell a business on a whim. You need to have a stable plan ahead of you. If you’re looking to retire, and you’ve been planning this for decades – great! Just make sure you don’t make some kind of big financial mistake that messes everything up at the very end. If you’re moving on to other projects, make sure what you have lined up is solid.

You have undoubtedly come very far to get to this point. You’ve started and run a business for who knows how long, supporting yourself and your family. You’re almost to the end! So don’t let up now. Make sure you do everything right, and you’ll get a fair outcome.

Check out this article on how to stay out of legal trouble with employees!

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