Yesterday I confused my packed class of new entrepreneurs. We just started a seven-day intense entrepreneur start-up course and they were bouncing off the walls with their new business ideas.
And it was like I just poured cold water on them when I asked them how and when they are going to exit their company.
They hadn’t even started it yet!
Knowing your role and when your part is done is crucial in building a successful company.
Too many founders don’t know when to sell, turn the reins over or quit, and therefore often times the company suffers and can even unnecessarily be brought down.
And exit strategies are not just for leaving your company.
For example, what is your exit strategy for the year 2010? Wrapping up a decade is no small feat and knowing what you will end it with and how you’ll start the next one is crucial in positioning a small business in this economy.
Too busy focusing on working IN the business and not focused enough on working ON the business? Here’s a chance for you to stop for a moment and set things up powerfully.
Top 7 Ways to Wrap Up 2010:
- Brand Overhaul—with the economy and competition closing in so quickly these days, it makes sense to review your branding. For example, just in the past couple of years in my industry of coaching, everyone and their mother now calls themselves a life, marketing or business coach. How are you better, different or distinct from the pack in your industry?
- Marketing Makeover—with a clear sense of your brand, marketing is the next major component to review. Social media is taking off in ways no one could have imagined a couple of years ago. Along with the demise of many other forms of marketing, like print and email blasts, how will you stay ahead of the curve? What is that balance that keeps you “heard” out there?
- Revenue Revamp—with new branding and marketing, what is your revenue model? With the economy in a sluggish recovery, a completely different way of thinking is necessary for generating revenue. For example how can you integrate a new vertical market (different industry) for your products and/or services?
- Talent Retrofit—you are only as UnReasonable as the team you build around yourself. This means it is crucial to have top players to holds you accountable, inspire you to move ahead of the pack and energize you beyond what you can imagine. How you bring in top talent with a limited, and sometimes non-existent, budget is two-fold: 1) a powerful company vision and 2) conviction of your success.
- Sustainability Renovation—most of my clients in the “sustainability sector” are growing faster than they care to admit. As they grow, both customers and the industry catch onto what they are “up to”. It gets exciting when this encourages them to innovate and create even more “sustainable” business practices. This in turn raises the bar on all their primary and secondary competitors. When was the last time you checked in to see what your competition is doing in this regard?
- Tech Transfer—what technology have you been sitting on and have not done anything with? Yes, that idea still in your head. Something you’ve created and thought a lot about but the world has not seen a piece of yet. Transfer that technology into reality by making a game plan to get it out the door. Could turn into a serious competitive advantage for your company.
- Blast Factor—everyone knows the best companies to do business with, work for, and/or promote are the ones that are having a blast as they go. When you amp up the juice on having fun, your energy shifts. When your energy shifts, who you are being in meetings shifts. And that can be contagious. So what will you do to amp it up?
Still too busy to focus on working on your year-end exit strategy?
I suspect you will be even busier if you continue with that mind set. Because you are less efficient and working in a vacuum.
So, take 5 to figure out your exit strategy for 2010. Heck, take 10! It could save you between 10 and 100 times this in the short term.
And that is not a bad ROI!
Action Steps for the Week:
A key to creating the “what’s next” in your company is to clear off the decks from distractions for a long-enough period for you to figure out a basic game plan.
You can do this in a serious of “meetings” with yourself and/or team, if necessary.
When planning this out, focus on making as specific and measurable outcomes as possible. Get as specific as possible in what type of outcome you want and by when.
For example, when working on Brand Overhaul, you can decide to create a new image that incorporates much of your newly researched industry analysis based on where your competition has been going. You can declare you’ll recreate your brand by the end of January, 2011.
Work through these seven ways to ramp up your business for the end of the decade. Doing so will provide you with a renewed sense of excitement, clarity and inspiration.
And isn’t that a good way to start the next decade?