If you have not thought about how you will be exiting your business, it’s quite likely that you will be exiting your business via the emergency exit.
Boarding a plane that does not have any landing gear would likely mean that you will be parachuting out of it at some point. It’s only a matter of time.
Starting a business is an exciting moment for many new entrepreneurs, but only a small percentage of these new venture owners started with the end in mind.
The appeal of potential profits, positive impact and personal achievement is a potent mix, especially for first-time entrepreneurs.
It’s only after the first or second business venture, after one or two emergency exits will these entrepreneurs start to realise that one’s exit strategy might be just as important as one’s market entry.
What exactly counts as an “exit”?
Well, the truth is that we all exit our businesses, some of us will enjoy profitable exits, and others will experience exits that are burdened with financial losses.
If you have read till this point, know that each and every one of us will exit our business. So, why don’t we look at how we can create the right value in our businesses so that we can achieve that profitable exit for ourselves.
Having a true business owner mindset
You might never want to sell your business and you might never actually sell it off.
But building your business with the vision of having it operate without you and designing it to showcase value to the market can go a long way in providing some clarity.
Mindsets are what set the foundations of your decision-making.
Your business might still rely on you to source or curate products or to design promotional concepts for now. But, building your processes and hiring the right people supported by robust checklists and frameworks can elevate you above operations.
A common mistake by many business leaders is to hire people that only will work for them and develop processes in such a way that they can only be operated by him or herself.
This mindset should be calibrated towards a “Business Owner” mindset, where he or she is working towards a version of reality where they are able to take time off the business and return to not only the same business but one which has grown.
Think like an owner and not like an operator.
Focus on Value
Value is very subjective, which is a double-edged sword.
A business with a large database of active consumers of exotic flavours of bubble gum might be very valuable to another business that has a range of drinks which are in those specific flavours.
While strengthening the operations of the business is crucial to sustainability, having an eye on who might appreciate the various aspects of the business such as brand, customer database, logistic infrastructure etc is crucial to the design of value for a business.
Consider asking yourself the following questions.
- What is the average profile of my customers
- What are their tastes profile
- What communities are they likely to be apart of
- What are needs or challenges are they likely to face that my products are not yet addressed
- Are there any other businesses out there who might be addressing the same challenges with a similar customer profile
These questions are a great way to start thinking about the value your business brings to the marketplace.
Tap on you the tangible elements of your business and weave them into a powerful narrative that can take on a life of itself.
Only when you have created something that money cannot buy, then you are ready to start selling it.
Develop a Story for your Brand/Business
Is your platform, store or business a “me too” or a “I am who I am” brand?
If your business did not exist, how differently would your target audience/avatar’s life be different?
Our business becomes a brand when the narrative that drives our business changes the story our customers tell themselves about themselves.
Are you selling a thermal mug that keeps coffee warm? Or are you helping your customers communicate to those around them that they appreciate the finer things in life.
Are you selling deodorant? Or are you offering your customers an increase in self-esteem to take on the world and be their best selves?
From offering your avatar the courage to take on new challenges to giving them a way to communicate their unique tastes to those who are important them, your products can be branded to create a new narrative for those who would purchase them.
Good stories require a struggle or challenge, without the struggle, the story lacks the energy to inspire and connect with its target audience.
Your brand will be the differentiation you can leverage on to stand out in the marketplace. When your brand is the difference-maker, your business will be valuable to those who can appreciate its leverage.