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Strategic Goal-Setting for a Successful Business Exit

Succession Planning

Strategic Goal-Setting for a Successful Business Exit

By , May 28, 2024

Based on insights from the ‘Exit Like a Boss Podcast – 21-Step Challenge‘, this blog covers Step 2 – Goals and Outcomes.

Explore the critical aspects of setting goals and outcomes for your business exit strategy, particularly tailored for SME business owners like yourself. Visualizing a prosperous exit is a vital step in this endeavor. We’ll delve into this journey, concentrating on defining goals and desired outcomes for you, your business, your employees, and your financial future.

Clarify Your Business Exit Strategy

Begin with a clear vision of your exit strategy. Many business owners overlook this vital aspect or possess only a vague idea, like selling the business upon reaching a certain age. However, a successful exit demands thorough preparation and clarity in the approach.

Your exit strategy must be specific and time-based. Outline a clear date and envisage the type of buyer, be it a listed company or a private equity fund. Moreover, define the financial aspect of the sale – whether it’s a $2 million, $5 million, $10 million, or $50 million deal. Being specific allows you to strategize effectively to achieve your financial goals.

Tailoring Preparation to Your Exit Goals

Preparation varies based on your exit strategy. If you plan to list your company on a stock exchange, certain prerequisites like audited accounts and robust governance systems are necessary. Conversely, passing the business to your children requires structured training and possibly adding specialized roles within the management.

Understanding your intended outcome is crucial in shaping the decision-making and implementation processes throughout the transition.

Plan Your Post-Exit Role and Transition

Clearly define your role post-exit. Decide whether you’ll still be actively involved in the business or transition into an advisory or board position. This decision impacts the steps you’ll take in the lead-up to the exit.

Consider the expertise needed to support your successor, be it a family member or an external buyer. Plan and implement necessary changes in management and structure to ensure a smooth transition and the ongoing success of the business.

Communicate Your Vision

Effective communication is key. Discuss your exit plans with family members, business partners, and other stakeholders. Keeping everyone informed and aligned with your vision maximizes the likelihood of a successful transition.

Avoid the common mistake of keeping your exit strategy a secret. Sharing your vision and involving others can yield valuable insights and garner support for your journey.

Take Action and Document Your Journey

Document your goals and action plan in a clear, concise manner. Start a journal to record the steps you’ll take to achieve a successful exit. Make it a dynamic roadmap that evolves as you progress toward your goals.

In conclusion, setting clear and detailed exit goals is the cornerstone of a successful business exit. By documenting your strategy and involving stakeholders, you set the stage for a smooth transition that maximizes the value of your business.

So, take the next step – sit down, pen your goals, and lay the foundation for an exit that truly embodies exiting like a boss. Your future self and your business will thank you for the foresight and meticulous planning.

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Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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