The Wall Street Journal for Entrepreneurs lists five steps to a business exit strategy, but I'd add a sixth step, and it might not be what you think.
The Wall Street Journal for Entrepreneurs mentions these five steps to a business exit strategy: formulate your objectives, put an advisory team in place, hire a business appraiser, focus on increasing cash flow, and assign a transition manager.
For creating a successful business exit strategy, I’d add a Sixth Step to the plan: Add a professional writer and PR consultant to your firm in order to guide you through these additional essential steps to a successful exit strategy.
Brand your firm if you haven’t already done so.
Revamp your website. Your website is the keystone of your firm and your business face to the world. Websites must contain fresh and timely content and must be updated frequently with content relevant to those searching for it. Not to do so, means that your website may not be found or will lose relevant ranking with search engines.
Take the time to create and share a history of your firm. Whether you choose to do a lighthearted or serious approach to the history, you need to create a timeline and historical data marking your appearance on the map, founders, growth and results. You’ll share your reason for being and what you bring to the table for your customers, community and for the future.
Celebrate milestone events--founding, anniversaries, project triumph. Share your events with your customers, employees, community and the world.
Create case studies and success stories. Show what you have meant in innovation and equity to your customers and associates.
Keep hiring top staff. Welcome new talent and provide a venue to tout their success.
Create and post press releases documenting company news, milestones, accomplishments and top talent. This is your opportunity to attract and retain top talent by promoting their career highlights, and create, demonstrate and grow equity with the talent bank you will be leaving with the company upon your exit.
Be visible in the community. Join with others and celebrate your local participation.
Attend industry events (ramp up not down, your attendance)--these people may be the new buyer of your firm. If possible, become a speaker and presenter at these professional showcases. Join roundtable discussions, host gatherings and sponsor events.
Adopt and support a charity or philanthropic cause. This demonstrates your financial success and your emotional depth as you recognize your duty to give to others.
Evaluate pre-sale mergers and all sound business practices that maximize talent inventories, projects and revenues. Of course, you will inform and have the full agreement with the merger candidate of a later sale before you merge.
Take care of morale--make sure that your employees and partners will speak well of the firm and have ample cause to do so.
Monitor what is being said about your firm on the internet and elsewhere. Protect your investment and your life’s work by paying attention to the buzz about your company and its products and people.
The Wall Street Journal article notes that for a successful exit strategy you cannot accomplish all that you need to do in a short period of time. The planning and stages will take from five to seven years. Adding a professional writer and PR consultant to the advisory and implementation team will ensure that the process of an exit strategy flows smoothly.
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