One of the first things that happens when you get on a flight is that the cabin crew goes through their safety procedures. This includes pointing out where all of the emergency exits are. If you’re sitting in the exit row they also take some extra time to make sure you understand your role in the event of an emergency.
Most of us don’t even pay much attention to these safety announcements because after a few flights you pretty much already know the drill. But regardless, knowing where the exits are and what to do if there is in fact an emergency is extremely useful. In an emergency, chaos, confusion and fear usually reign and it’s those who have taken the time to know what to do, where to go and how to help guide others will be in the best position to survive.
In business and investing having an exit strategy is key to ensuring lasting success. Often during the start-up and growth phase we are so hyper-focused on the day to day operations that we don’t spend much time thinking about how to exit. But, carefully thinking about what your exit strategy will be is important in guiding how you structure and build your business.
For instance, let’s take a moment to stop and think about your business if you wanted to exit today. What options would you have? Selling it? Passing it on to your children? Maintaining ownership but stepping away from the day to day operations? Closing up shop?
If you haven’t spent any time running through these scenarios and putting polices, processes and procedures in place to accommodate these options then you will either lose out on some (or all) of the value or be unable to exit when you want to. How awful would it be to get to the point where you want to retire from your business and realize at this point that it’s not attractive to a potential buyer? Or that there is no one in your family that wants to take it over from you? What do you do then?
Beginning with the end in mind is a great way to make sure that while your business grows you are putting the infrastructure in place that will allow for a smooth and successful exit.