Do you have an exit plan for your small business? Part 2

Finding outside investors or going out of business can give you a clean break.

As a small business owner, have you considered what you plan to do with your business when you retire? Do you have an exit plan developed? Have you thought about it at all? It is likely you have not, so this article may help get you started. In part 1 of this article, we discussed succession planning with intent to transition the business in order to continue business as usual. If a clean break is your intent when you retire, then here are a couple of tips to keep in mind.

Engage outside investors

It is always a possibility to seek outside investors who will simply buy the business and either continue its operation, modify or move the operations or just close the doors. Business is about making money and getting a good return on your investment. If a solid offer is presented for which you are comfortable, then this may be a positive scenario to consider.

However, if your intent is to simply put a for sale sign up a few months prior to retirement and expect everything to fall in place, then you may be stuck working a bit longer than intended. By engaging others in advance of retirement, you give yourself a much greater likelihood that retirement may actually occur.

Close the doors with class

If you do decide to shutter the business when the time comes, be sure to do so with class. All too often we see a business that is open one day, then when their employees report to work in the morning, the place is locked tight with a sign on the doors saying they have gone out of business.

Remember, your business is part of the community and the lives of your customers and employees. Keep them informed of your plans to call it quits, well in advance. This allows them to find alternatives, but also might even bring someone to the table who would like to continue the business. You never know.

By closing the doors with class, you maintain a positive reputation, ensure your employees and customers and cared for, and potentially benefit more than planned in the end.

Succession planning is often an overlooked process. By the time it becomes a priority, the timeframe may be too short to proactively develop a viable plan. Consider taking the time to develop and explore the possible ways to transition your business when the time comes. You never know what the future may hold in store.

If you want more assistance with succession planning ideas, you can consult your local Small Business Development Center, the U.S. Small Business Association, the local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development organization or Michigan State University Extension Community Development Educator in your community.

Michigan State University Extension offers a variety of programs to provide expertise, education, and development of communities throughout the state of Michigan. 

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