Incorporating Your Exit Strategy in Your Business Strategy

Starting with the end in mind

It may sound silly to be thinking about your exit strategy when you are just starting out or even when you are already running a successful business. It is, however, a very important topic that should form part of your long-term planning and will influence the way you structure and run your business.

Ultimately, the end game for a business owner will depend on their individual goals, values and aspirations. Here are some general end games that many business owners may want to achieve:

Sell the Business:

Many business owners start a business with the goal of making money and achieving financial success. This could include building a profitable business that generates significant revenue, increasing the company’s value. This will normally result in the business being sold, thereby achieving a certain level of financial security for themselves and their family.


Some business owners may want to create a lasting legacy through their business. This could involve building a company that continues to operate successfully after they retire or passing the business down to future generations of their family.

Passive Income:

Generating passive income from a business involves creating revenue streams that require minimal ongoing effort or direct involvement. This approach enables business owners to earn income while others manage the business, offering a pathway to both financial stability and the freedom to pursue other endeavours.

Social Impact:

Many business owners want to make a positive impact on society and the world around them. This could involve creating products or services that help people, supporting charitable causes or using sustainable business practices to reduce their environmental impact.

Personal Fulfilment:

For some business owners, the end game may simply be personal fulfilment. This could involve pursuing a passion, building a company that reflects their values and beliefs or achieving a sense of satisfaction from running a successful business.

Lifestyle Business:

Building a lifestyle business involves crafting a venture that aligns with the owners aspirations and their desired work-life balance. Unlike traditional enterprises focused solely on rapid growth, a lifestyle business prioritises the owner’s quality of life and integrates seamlessly into their daily routines.

Let’s look at a some of these in more detail:
Sell the business:

When the end game for a business owner is to sell their business, they need to take a strategic approach to prepare for the sale in the short, medium and long term. Here are some actions the business owner should take in each timeframe:

  • Plan for succession: Identify and develop a succession plan to ensure a smooth transition of ownership.
  • Maintain good relationships with customers and suppliers: Maintain good relationships with customers and suppliers to demonstrate the business’s stability and longevity.
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends: Stay up-to-date with industry trends and adapt the business model as necessary to remain competitive.
  • Continuously improve business performance: Continuously improve the business’s performance and profitability to increase its value over time.
  • Build a strong management team: Develop a strong management team that can continue to operate the business after the owner’s departure.
  • Diversify revenue streams: Diversify revenue streams to reduce the risk of dependence on a single product or service.
  • Invest in marketing and branding: Invest in marketing and branding efforts to increase the business’s visibility and attract potential buyers.
  • Document key processes and procedures: Document key processes and procedures to make the business more attractive to buyers and facilitate a smooth transition.
Create a passive income:

There are many ways for a business to create a passive income.  These include strategies such as creating and selling digital products or online courses, building a subscription-based model and developing automated systems within the business. One of the most successful ways to generate passive income is franchising.

Franchising offers the advantage of leveraging an established brand and business model, allowing entrepreneurs to replicate their success across multiple locations with franchisees handling day-to-day operations.

A franchise is a business model in which a franchisor grants the right to use its trademark, products and business systems to a franchisee in exchange for a fee. The franchisee is allowed to operate a business using the franchisor’s name and business model and must follow certain rules and guidelines established by the franchisor.

The franchisor provides the franchisee with support and training in areas such as marketing, operations and management. They also typically provide ongoing support, such as advertising and promotions, to help the franchisee succeed.

In return, the franchisee pays an initial franchise fee and ongoing royalties based on a percentage of sales to the franchisor. The franchisee is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, including hiring employees and managing the finances.

Franchises are popular because they offer a proven business model and the support of an established brand. They can be a good option for entrepreneurs who want to start a business but are not sure how to get started or lack experience in a particular industry.

If the end game for a business owner is to create a franchise, there are several things they can do to prepare for this goal:

  • Develop a strong brand identity: A strong brand identity is essential to building a successful franchise. The business should have a unique name, logo and value proposition that can be easily recognised by customers.
  • Establish a proven business model: To create a successful franchise, the business owner needs to have a proven business model that can be replicated in other locations. This includes developing systems and processes that can be easily replicated by franchisees.
  • Create a franchise agreement: A franchise agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the franchise relationship between the franchisor and franchisee. The agreement should include details about the franchise fee, royalties and the support provided by the franchisor.
  • Develop a franchise training program: A franchise training program should be developed to train franchisees on the business model and operating procedures. This should include both initial training and ongoing support.
  • Build a support team: A support team should be established to provide ongoing support to franchisees. This includes marketing support, operational support and financial support.
  • Establish a franchise sales process: A franchise sales process should be established to attract potential franchisees. This includes developing a franchise sales kit, attending trade shows and advertising the franchise opportunity.

Overall, creating a successful franchise requires a lot of hard work and preparation. It’s important to do thorough research and seek professional advice before moving forward with franchising.


To ensure that a family business continues to operate successfully over time and stays within the family, the owner should consider the following:

  • Establish a clear succession plan: The owner should establish a clear succession plan that outlines how the business will be transferred to future generations of the family. This should include identifying potential successors, developing a training program and establishing a timeline for the transfer of ownership.
  • Develop a strong family leadership team: A strong family leadership team is crucial for the long-term success of a family business. The owner should focus on developing a team of skilled family members who can take on key roles and responsibilities.
  • Foster a culture of open communication and collaboration: Maintaining open communication and collaboration among family members is essential for ensuring the continued success of the business. The owner should foster a culture of open communication and collaboration to ensure that all family members feel heard and valued.
  • Ensure financial stability: Maintaining financial stability is essential for the long-term success of a family business. The owner should manage cash flow carefully, invest in the business wisely and regularly review financial performance to identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop a family business culture: Developing a family business culture that aligns with the family’s values and mission can help ensure the long-term success of the business. The owner should work to establish a clear sense of identity and purpose for the business that resonates with family members.
  • Ensure that you take steps to set up the business in such a way that it can be passed on with minimal tax implications. This may include:
    • Plan early: The earlier you start planning for the transfer of the business, the more options you will have available to you. Ideally, you should start planning several years in advance of the anticipated transfer.
    • Consider the structure of the business: The way in which the business is structured can have a significant impact on tax liability. For example, transferring ownership of a sole proprietorship or partnership can be simpler than transferring ownership of a corporation.#
    • Always take legal advice when setting up the business.

By taking these steps, the owner can help ensure that their family business remains successful over time and is passed down to future generations of the family. It’s important to regularly review and update these strategies to ensure they remain effective as the business and family evolve over time.

Personal Fulfilment:

Establishing a personal fulfilment business is a transformative endeavour that centres on the fusion of one’s innate passions and individual strengths with the entrepreneurial spirit. This unique approach transcends the traditional notions of business success, aiming not only to generate revenue but also to create a profound and lasting sense of purpose. At its core, a personal fulfilment business is a manifestation of authenticity, where every facet of the venture resonates with the owner’s deeply held values, aspirations and interests.

In contrast to conventional enterprises solely driven by profit, a personal fulfilment business places a premium on impact. The products, services or content offered are carefully crafted to resonate with a target audience that shares the same values and beliefs. This alignment fosters a genuine connection, creating a community of like-minded individuals who find genuine value in what the business provides.

The journey of building a personal fulfilment business is an immersive experience where entrepreneurship becomes a vehicle for self-discovery and personal growth. Every step, from ideation to execution, is a reflection of the owner’s passion and each challenge serves as an opportunity for honing skills and evolving as an individual. Success is no longer confined to monetary gains but extends to the tangible and intangible fulfilment derived from creating something meaningful and impactful.

Operating a personal fulfilment business is akin to a continuous cycle of giving and receiving. The satisfaction of delivering value and making a difference becomes an intrinsic reward. The interactions and connections established with customers go beyond transactional exchanges, evolving into meaningful relationships that enrich both the entrepreneur’s life and the lives of those they serve.

Ultimately, building a personal fulfilment business is an intentional journey towards holistic well-being. It embodies a harmonious blend of professional ambition and personal fulfilment, demonstrating that the pursuit of entrepreneurial goals need not come at the expense of one’s authenticity or inner sense of contentment. By weaving passion, purpose and entrepreneurship together, this approach offers a path to not only financial success but also lasting fulfilment that resonates on a profoundly personal level.

Lifestyle business:

Unlike the conventional pursuit of exponential growth at all costs, a lifestyle business is forged with a deliberate intention to cultivate a balanced and fulfilling life. Such businesses are often rooted in niche markets or specialised areas that resonate with the owner’s passions or expertise. This alignment allows entrepreneurs to not only profit from their endeavours but also to relish their work, making the daily grind feel more like a purposeful journey rather than a relentless race.

At the core of a lifestyle business is the acknowledgment that work is not a separate entity, but an integral part of life. The boundaries between personal and professional realms blur as the business is not just a means to an end but an extension of the owner’s identity and interests. This understanding drives the creation of a business model that adapts to the owner’s lifestyle, fostering a sense of autonomy and control over one’s time and efforts.

Embracing a lifestyle-focused approach means recognising that growth doesn’t necessarily equate to success. Instead of pursuing aggressive expansion, a lifestyle entrepreneur strives for sustainability and self-sufficiency. This measured approach allows for a manageable workload, reduced stress levels and a more enjoyable work process. It also enables the entrepreneur to cater to the demands of family, personal interests and wellness without compromising the business’s stability.

Flexibility lies at the heart of a lifestyle business. Remote work, reduced hours and the freedom to choose where and how to work become integral components. The business structure adapts to the owner’s life phases and circumstances, ensuring that the venture remains an enabler of their chosen lifestyle, rather than an obstacle.

In essence, building a lifestyle business transcends the conventional entrepreneurial paradigm. It embodies a fusion of passion and practicality, ambition and balance. It’s about embracing entrepreneurship not just as a means of financial gain but as a conduit for holistic personal growth. By nurturing a venture that’s purposefully intertwined with one’s values and aspirations, the lifestyle entrepreneur forges a path that enriches both professional and personal realms, fostering a life that’s not only prosperous but profoundly satisfying


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