Britton Law, P.A.
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What does it take to make a graceful exit from a business?

We have talked a lot in this blog about the importance of proper planning to get a business off the ground successfully. But if the plan you have only takes you as far as getting the door to your North Carolina business open and growing, some might argue that you haven't finished the job.

If the vision for your business doesn't include some notion of how it will continue after you decide to exit the stage, you might find yourself with a lot of regrets down the road. So what does it take to avoid that? Read on for some thoughts on the subject from one small business consulting professional.

In Cathy Hagan's view, there are four basic exit strategy steps to plan for to ensure that your business doesn't fade away when you decide it's time to move on.

The first is to set clear goals for your life after work. Envision what you will be doing and figure out how much money you will need to sustain the lifestyle you expect to enjoy. You should also decide how you want those funds paid out. Should you take a lump sum or take income from the business without working?

It's also kind of important to remember that the world doesn't revolve around you. There are bound to be others interested in seeing the business survive, so get stakeholder buy-in for your plan. And be sure to set out an adequate timeline to prepare all involved for the transition.

The song says you can't always get what you want. In the context of exiting a business, getting what you need means honestly assessing your business' value. Knowing how your company stacks up against others like it can help you determine what may be required to make the best choices that will enhance its value.

Of course, it doesn't do much good to have an exit strategy if you don't work the plan. By incorporating these exit steps into your overall strategic plan for the business and working with an experienced business attorney from the outset, the chances of leaving the legacy you desire improve.

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