Business owners love—no, it’s more than that—you live to have control.
Even if your leadership style is hands-off. Even if you trust and empower your team. Even if you know to accept the things you can’t control. You are an entrepreneur because you want control and accept the responsibility that comes with it. And if you’re the type who struggles to relinquish control, the same trait that makes you successful can eventually become a hindrance.
Any leadership coach will tell you that you need to let go of control for your business to grow. You can do everything yourself, but only to a certain point. It’s not sustainable or scalable. But there’s another reason to let go of control, and it’s bigger than just your business. It’s your exit.
The Super Bowl of Self-Discipline
When it comes time to transition out of your business and plan your next chapter in life, letting go will take on a whole new meaning. Few business owners understand how a business transaction works. It’s not like writing up a contract for a customer or compiling paperwork for your taxes. It’s much more complex, with documentation like you’ve never seen and questions you’ve never been asked. You’ll wonder why the attorney said this or why the accountant requested that. Your only choice will be to listen to the experts or risk undermining your own exit.
Where Will You Get the Time?
When we start the Exit Engineering® journey of exit strategy consulting, we’re looking at adding roughly 20 hours per week to your schedule for the foreseeable future to have the necessary discussions and compile the required documents. That’s with us leading the way and physically doing the work!
If you’re like most business owners, you already work 50-plus hours per week just to keep your business moving. It’s not humanly or healthily possible to add 20 more for the transaction. Something has got to give. Since your exit is your and your family’s financial future at stake, you’re probably not going to neglect that once you hire professional help. We won’t let you, either. So, your best bet is to let go of some of that control that you’re holding on to in your business. Small tasks add up. Look at what you do every day at work and identify where you can pull back or delegate to reallocate time to exit planning.
How Will You Find the Balance?
The funny thing about letting go of control is that once you get used to it, you’ll really like it. Then, it becomes easy to take it too far. Letting go of control in our Exit Engineering® process doesn’t mean removing yourself completely. You’re still very much a part of the action and in on every discussion. You’re not walking off the field just yet; you’re just moving up to the owner’s box rather than being the star quarterback on the field. It may be that way for a time period after the exit as well to ensure a smooth transition to the new owner(s). The more you can hone that balance in your business, the easier it’ll be in your exit.
Who Will You Trust with the Transaction?
The only way you can let go of control is to put the right people around you. Again, you know this from running your business. The same goes for your transaction. You need a team of professionals, including an attorney, CPA, financial planner, investment banker, broker, and general consultant. Hire honest, proven service providers and let them lead you to your Win.
By John Ovrom, President & CEO, Exit Consulting Group