Planned Exit or Not

November 27th, 2012

Let Me Get Out of Here – But When I’m Ready!

Whilst  the UK is gripped (or paralyzed) by I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! I have been mulling over the escape options and exit strategies for business owners. Whether you have planned your exit or not. So, with this very tenuous link let’s look at how you might want, or have to, exit a business.

1. The Planned Exit

You have built your business and right from the start you know how you are going to exit. You have planned the exit, you are in control. Your options include

  • Selling your business
    • to your employees
    • to another company
    • to investors
    • one the open market
  • Passing on to the next generation
  • IPO (Initial Public Offering ) taking the business public
  • Liquidating the business

2. The Unplanned Exit

Always a painful option but one you should plan for even if you never think it will happen! Forewarned is fore armed. There is some great advice in Brent Dees article called The 4 D’s of business exits They are death, disability, divorce and departure.

3. The Forced Exit.

There are several ways that this could happen and in many cases the situation in No 2 above create the catalyst for exit – and usually on a short time scale. You may just want a change – feeling you have done everything you can and its not fun anymore. This probably means accelerating your initial plans. In addition, circumstances could include:

  • business failure
  • bankruptcy
  • foreclosure or withdrawal of bank (or investor) support
  • a ‘too good to miss’ offer to buy your business
  • voted out

4. The Tag & Drag Exit

Unless you are the sole owner of the business then your exit may be dictated by the terms of the shareholder agreement that you had put in place with your partner(s) when you started. If you don’t have one of these you need one now! The shareholders agreement will stipulate what happens when one or more, but not all, of the partners want to sell. In most cases partners work together to get to an agreed outcome but if you can’t agree then the terms of the shareholder agreement can be enforced and you may find yourself forced to exit.

Whatever your situation, you want to stay in control but be prepared for the unexpected exit!





Shirley Mansfield is a highly experienced business coach and Master Problem Solver. With over 25 years’ experience, she founded CoachSME in 2011 to work with business owners to maximise growth, and she is still trying to reduce the 14 handicap! Keep up to date by following me on Twitter @coachsme