After a long, busy, intense year and relying heavily on the resources offered by Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, I built up The Society to the point where I was able to sell the business. However, I must admit that most of the time that I spent working on this business, I didn’t have an exit strategy. It wasn’t until after a mentor asked me what the end goal was for The Society that I actually started to reflect on where I was going.
At that important moment, I decided to outline my exit strategy. I recently sold The Society, and by that point, I had a clear strategy in mind; the opportunity to sell The Society presented itself, and I took it. It is bittersweet because when you build something up for so long, you become attached. But, overall, I know the new owners can take it to another level, and I can profit and move onto my passion, Big Red Jelly.
Based on my experience, here are four key points to remember when thinking about your own exit strategy:
1. Plan Your Exit Strategy from the Beginning
The vast majority of us find ourselves lost and regretful because we didn’t focus on the final outcome or set goals before undertaking a new project. Sure, things change, and being an entrepreneur requires flexibility. But reviewing your exit strategy now will save you a lot of time and pain in the future whether or not your business is successful.
2. Focus on Cash Generation
A close mentor of mine used to always remind me of this key point: “You can always cut expenses. Now, go out there and increase your revenue, do what you have to.” I appreciated that advice, it kept me focused, and kept The Society growing.
3. Have a Simple Sell Story
As an entrepreneur, you should be the expert on selling your business. Keep it simple and remember that we are emotional beings and that buyers, partners, etc. want to know the “why” rather than the “how” and ”what.”
4. Don’t Fall in Love with Your Creation
I am guilty. And I have seen countless colleagues succumb to this weakness. You spend time, energy, passion, everything working on your project or business. When you fall in love with your business, you convince yourself that it’s only a matter of time until you succeed. That is not always true.
I knew I didn’t want to be 35 and still working on The Society. Once I understood that reality, I built it up, watched as the revenue curve began to upswing and sold to someone who I believed in.