Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Small Business Owners: Do You Have an Exit Strategy?

Let's face it, when you were getting your company started, you probably weren't thinking about how your days with it would end. And even some serial entrepreneurs haven't perfected their exit strategies. In some cases, it can be hard to say goodbye to the business you built; in other cases, it seems impossible to extricate yourself from your partners.

Either way, having an exit strategy can not only help your leave your small business efficiently and on good terms, it can ensure your business keeps going after you're on to the next thing.

No Way Out

According to Business Wire, among the 54 percent of small business owners who plan to leave their business in the next decade, 72 percent of them have yet to plan for said exit. "For most small business owners, the business is by far their largest asset," says Andrew O'Brien, direct of Securian Financial Group's business owner client solutions unit. "Not properly planning for the sale or transfer of their business can leave a lot of people--including the business owner--in a very difficult position."

The majority of small business owners want to transfer or sell the business, preferably to a family member, partner, or key employee. Each scenario has its own pros, cons, and pitfalls that a proper exit plan could overcome.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you're planning on leaving the company you've founded, you'll have some pre-exit plan planning to do to get your small business ready. Make sure your intellectual property rights, incorporation documents, and accounting records are in order and up-to-date. You may also want to look into finding a business broker who can assess the value of your company and track down possible buyers.

Ideally, your exit plan would've been part of your business plan from the beginning. But it's never too late to create or refine your exit strategy. If you have questions about leaving your small business or putting an exit plan in place, you can talk to an experienced commercial attorney today.

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