Do you have an exit strategy?

January 13, 2011 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

90% of business owners and CEOs think it is important
to have an exit strategy for their businesses,
and 90% don’t have one.
Apparently, not having an exit strategy is the
massively dominant exit strategy!

I first heard the term when I was coaching the founders of high tech, high growth startups as a volunteer with the VenturePoint SBDC in Orange County, CA. Angel investors and VCs insisted that founders have a clear exit strategy before they would consider making an investment.  This often meant cashing out, stepping aside, and turning their company over to professional managers.

Financial advisors who specialize in services for owners, managers and employees of midsize companies often use the term as a substitute for “retirement”. The numbers quoted above came from a 2008 study conducted on behalf of White Horse Advisors LLC and Vistage International.

However, I learned the meaning of “exit strategy” in a a very personal context. On November 4, 2002, I was told that I had stage IV oral cancer… there is no stage V.

I had 30 days to close down my company and transition from being a marketing consultant and internet strategy coach with clients in a dozen states to being full-time cancer patient.

I thanked my clients for the opportunity to serve them. I thanked my colleagues for helping me deliver great services and making my company successful. Then, I closed the doors on a business I started in 1996 and had my first surgery on December 3. Five years later, my doctor told me I was “cured”.

In 2002, I didn’t have an exit strategy. Today, I do. How about you?

I would be happy to talk with you about holding an exit strategy workshop for your management team or a peer-group of business owners and CEOs about getting off the dime and creating an exit strategy. Click “About Me” for a phone number or an email address.

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Entry filed under: CEO coach, coaching, exit strategy.

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