When I did a plan to start my own advertising agency I knew right from the start that I was building it to sell it within 10 years. And I knew that the likely buyer would be a multi-national agency group. I even wrote down what I wanted to sell it to them for. I painted a really clear picture of what they would be looking for in a boutique agency and I set about building that business for them. I worked out what I was building and then I put a plan in place. I was taught to do this at a business school I attended…. It made sense to me, so I stuck to my plan and achieved my sale price within 9 years.
Key number 3. Start with the end in mind
The key to my ultimate success with my ad agency was that I planned my exit right from the start. I knew what my end goal was, which enabled me to work out my plan to get there. I had a clear picture in mind, which kept me on track, even when the going got tough.
This is something I encourage all business owners to do. Plan your exit now – will you sell it one day, or will you build it so that it generates income for you even if you are not there? What kind of business do you need to build to enable this? What does it look like? What do you need to build in order to create value?
Many business owners tell me they will never want to sell their business. I say that it really doesn’t matter… because if you build a business that is valuable and saleable, it will be ticking all the right boxes and you will have choice.
If you don’t build a saleable business and something happens to you… you don’t have choice… you work hard for years and years and have nothing to show for it.
Here’s an excerpt from my book “Liber8 your Business” on the topic of having a clear end game:
“A business is a project not a life sentence. By having a clear picture of where you are going, you can create your own map of how to get there. When I started and I was alone in my horrid little one-roomed office, with concrete walls and no natural light, I dreamed of a beautiful office with high ceilings, big windows, wooden floors and a big staircase sweeping up the middle. I saw a team of motivated young people all passionate about creating the best boutique agency in the country. I could see the award trophies lined up and could feel the joy of knowing I’d been successful. I painted a picture of exactly how I wanted my agency to be and worked out what it needed to be doing financially to deliver on this image.”
My book and my programmes teach you how to work out a realistic sale price and how to paint the end picture that will deliver this for you, and I’ll cover more of the critical components towards creating a valuable business in my next 5 keys to a bigger, better business.
Think about this… if your business could be anything you wanted it to be in the future, what would it look like? Don’t let the obstacles you might see in front of you influence your imagination here. What does success look like for you? Think about the financial return as well as the satisfaction you will feel from building something really special. If someone knocked on your door offering to buy your business, what would be a price you would sell for? And how would that influence your life? What sort of business would they be buying and what makes you feel proud? Remember, you don’t have to sell it… but you do want it to be valuable. Imagine the satisfaction of turning down the offer?
The 2016 Elev8or Group is coming soon!
For ambitious business owners who want to create a clear end game for their business, build a plan and be guided and supported to make it happen. Only 10 business owners will be selected to join … are you ready for it? Click here for more information.