In your 20’s — the concept of the exit strategy is as foreign as the surface of Mars.
In your 30’s — you might have heard some old guy in the office use the term, but it still means very little.
In your 40’s — when your business life has matured a bit and maybe you are beginning to think about considering to maybe perhaps allowing yourself to someday potentially consider the rudimentary idea of someday kinda sorta maybe slowing down, how to exit your business becomes something that begins to creep into your mind from time to time.
In your 50’s — you begin to think about the exit strategy far more often. And probably wish you had begun to put the pieces in place in your 40’s.
And when you reach your 60’s, when the nest is empty and the possibility of enjoying your morning cup of coffee overlooking a mountain, river or ocean seems to constantly knock at the front of your mind, your exit strategy is what you think of almost all of the time.
So what is an Exit Strategy?
You have to be able to demonstrably illustrate the predictable income stream your book of business can provide.
An exit strategy is nothing more than a plan that allows you to leave your multi-decade book of business to a protege (or preferably your ‘team’) and receive some level of recurring income from your years of hard work as you transition to the place in life you worked so hard to get to.
For those who own businesses that sell actual physical products, the exit strategy is far more obvious. Potential suitors, especially competitors, know how to value tangible products. But for those who are in sales or provide services, selling your book of business can be far harder.
So What Do You Do?
People are rational (well, sometimes they are!) and will act in their own best self interest when given the opportunity.
If you can demonstrate that buying your book of business is faster and cheaper than creating their own book of business, then you will find a buyer. But that said, you have to be able to demonstrably illustrate the predictable income stream your book can provide.
In order to have any hope of being able to create either a lump sum or recurring income stream from your book of business when you decide to hang it up, you must have the systems in place to reach your book of past clients, contacts and other associates in a manner that is repeatable. In effect, you are not only selling your book of business, but the tools and systems you use to reach your book of business. Without the systems, the book itself has little value.
Hopefully, you have built a team of accomplished sales folk around you that have seen the systems you created spew leads and opportunities. If so, they too, will be willing to buy your book from you.
How Will Your Retirement Day Feel?
There is no worse feeling for a salesperson than to know that the day you retire, all of your life’s work has no further monetary value. Yet imagine the feeling of knowing that for many years beyond the last day you walk into the office, a check will show up in your mailbox as others continue to monetize and serve the book of business you worked so hard to build!
Creating the marketing systems to continually capture, cultivate and convert contacts, past clients and new acquaintances into new customers is one of the first steps in building a true business that can be sold when the time comes.
At Hither, we recognize that investing in lead generation systems and conversion protocols can be time consuming and expensive. But we also recognizing that failure to do so is even more so — and on many levels.