Exiting the Business—who will do your job when you’re gone?

February 22, 2016Exit Strategies, Succession Planning

If you are like most business owners, you built your business from scratch. Especially in the early days, it feels like a daily street fight to keep the business humming. You know your dedication is the essential component to make it to another day. You are the center axle of the wagon wheel. All decisions and changes go through you.

If you’re really honest with yourself, you love this! Running a business comes with an unbeatable adrenaline rush and sense of power. It’s addictive.

As your business grows, you have fewer days that feel like a constant street fight. You employ team members who are able to oversee the day-to-day and make decisions.

But the challenge is that this mentality of “I must approve everything and all decisions must go through me,” is all you know. Even more so, it’s what got the business to where it is today.

It will be hard to remove yourself form the day-to-day. Here’s the reality. If you want to sell your business, then you have to make yourself replaceable to the business.

That stings a little bit doesn’t it? It’s the truth though.

If your business is to succeed long-term, it needs to operate completely without you. This will be your most difficult challenge to date. If you are committed to the future success of the business, then it needs to be done.

At Exit Consulting Group, we partner with business owners to help navigate all areas of a business transition. This includes identifying who will fill your shoes when you leave. Here are three essential components we’ve identified to help you prepare for this crucial exit question.


It Starts with Training

When you believe in the abilities of your team, it will be easier to hand over the reins.

Delegate tasks with measureable results and then coach team members to accomplish desired results. Teach them everything that is in your head so you build solid systems taking advantage of your decades of experience. Be the best parent of this business through raising a competent and excellent team to run the day-to-day of the business.

Your goal is to completely remove yourself from the day-to-day. Your focus needs to be on training the management level employees to do your job.

Too often business owners approach their business exit with no one able to do fill their shoes. To a buyer, this makes a risky investment. Start grooming your management team to fill that role today.


Trial Run

Once you feel comfortable with your management team’s ability to run the business, test it. Take a month off.

Most likely you will need to build up frequency before jumping straight into a month vacation. Run trial periods. Start with a week, then work on two weeks and build up to a month.

Now when you take this month off, it needs to be a complete disconnect. Don’t check and reply to emails daily. No calls to check in. If you still have your hand in the mix, you won’t be able to tell how the business stands on its own. This is also part of a healthy journey toward retirement, or whatever the next phase of your life brings.


Build an Exit Strategy

Your exit from the business will not happen by accident. Particularly if you are looking to sell, you need to have a strategic roadmap that prepares the business for a profitable sale. Timing the market will be one of the most important factors to selling your business for a desired price. The other is how well the internal systems of the business operate without you.

Answering questions like who will complete your job after you leave early on in the process is crucial for preparing the business for your exit. Selling and exiting a business is a comprehensive process.

Take advantage of the expertise that Exit Consulting offers throughout the entire process. We partner with you to manage the moving components of the exit. This includes engineering value, long-term exit strategy planning, navigating transitions, and brokering the sale.


Contact us today to start working toward your business exit.