Exit Planning: Are you prepared to leave your business?

George Lucas

George Lucas

Do you think of yourself as a prepared person?  Are you the type of person who is always early to everything?  Do you have every scenario covered? You probably have a flashlight in every bedroom just in case the power goes out.  Business owners are generally very prepared people, but how prepared is your business?  Many business owners make the mistake of working in their business, but they never work on it.  Essentially they are only glorified managers.  It is the job of an owner to grow his business.  He cannot simply work in the business; he must also work through it.

Every business owners exits his business eventually.  One way or another you will leave your business.  Are you prepared for that day? It could be coming sooner than you think.  Every owner either sells out to a third party, designates a successor, or dies before he can.  No one likes to think about it, but what would your family do if you were unable to work another day?

Last week a coworker of mine told me the tragic story of his personal friend that we’ll call Tim to protect his privacy.  Tim owned a large architectural firm with projects in a four state radius.  Though a successful businessman, Tim had neglected to invest time and money into exit planning.  When Tim’s plane went down in an unexpected accident, Tim’s family was forced to deal with, not only the loss of a family member, but also the loss of their livelihood.  The family was forced to sell the company for pennies on the dollar because Tim never prepared his company to run without him.

Many small business owners make the mistake of relying too much on themselves.  They build their businesses around their own skill sets. A business that revolves around the owner may function well for a time, but in the end it has no value without him.  The best exit planners know exactly the right time to sell their business. George Lucas is one such owner.  I recently read an article by the Wall Street Journal that categorized Lucas’s Jedi-masterful sale of LucasFilm.  Lucas recently announced the sale of his company to Disney for a reported 4.05 Billion dollars.  According to The Wall Street Journal “the filmmaker has spared his family the need to pick up the pieces of his empire after he’s gone.”  George Lucas sold out at exactly the right time.  Don’t you want to be as prepared as Lucas?

The first step in the exit planning process is to consult an expert.  Exit planning can be complicated and time-consuming.  A good exit-planning consultant could save you thousands of dollars.  In the meantime, your business is in desperate need of another type of expert.  Exit planning is all about organization and planning, but how can you organize your exit if your office is a mess?  Before you meet with an exit-planning advisor, you need to prepare your business.  Experts estimate that employees can waste up to four hours a week searching for documents.  The experts at Tarheel Imaging and Microfilming are specially trained to deal with paper clutter and wasted time.  Remember how most owners only work in the business?  You need to think long-term.  How much of your money is being wasted to pay employees to hassle through mountains of paperwork.  You need help to exit your business and you certainly need help organizing it.  Call the experts at Tarheel Imaging now.