Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner. It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.
If you think an exit strategy is only something you need when you get on an airplane, you may need to revisit your business plan. An exit strategy can help you when you are planning to start your business, and is something that investors will ask about. Knowing how you want your business to eventually end up will help you immensely when starting up or preparing your business goals and benchmarks.
Exit strategies may include selling your business, paying your investors back, retiring, acquisition by a larger company or the elusive IPO (Initial Public Offering). I say elusive because according to a recent article, Exit Strategies for Your Business, by Stever Robbins, there are only 7,000 public companies in the U.S. amid millions of companies, so your chances of great fortune are better playing the lottery. The author goes on to say, "But if you're a bootstrapper, believing in a fair IPO is a touchingly naïve act of faith. Besides, do you have any idea what's actually involved in an IPO?" (Entrepreneur).
Here's another great blog post I ran across: Strategic business transitions keep communities vibrant. This article talks about the importance of planning in farms and rural businesses, but the same lessons apply to entrepreneurs and family owned businesses. Exit plans can also be extremely helpful for family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. I've heard stories of the patriarch passing away and then the heirs can't get along and the business ends up failing, or one offspring wants to run the company a different way than his or her sibling(s) and it ends up destroying not only the company but the family. With the aging workforce, this becomes even more important to get things in place.
Finally, here's another link with a step-by-step list to plan your exit. Whether it's business, succession, strategic or exit, there are also plenty of free resources on this topic and other business resources available online at SCORE and the SBA.