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  • Lee Henry

Planning to sell in 5 years - why owners never really get there

If you were to ask a hundred business owners about their plans to sell their businesses, an overwhelming majority would likely say, 'I plan to get out in 3-5 years.' Surprisingly, however, 3-5 years often come and go, and the owner finds themselves in the same chair with the same plan of selling in the next 3-5 years. Why does this cycle repeat for so many business owners? The answer is simple: those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Even though their plan is to sell in 3-5 years, it often lacks specificity and actionable goals, making it nearly impossible for them to exit when and how they want. At Golden Shield, we address this issue with a strategic approach:

  1. Specific: We transform vague goals into specific objectives. These encompass retirement income, desired valuation amounts, post-sale treatment of employees, the path to achieving the valuation, and more.

  2. Measurable: Actionable goals allow us to measure our progress. Regular assessments, made by both the advisor and the owner, enable necessary course corrections to stay on track.

  3. Achievable: Goals must be reasonably attainable within the given time frame. Unrealistic objectives can lead to frustration and hinder progress.

  4. Relevant: Goals must be relevant and directly connected to the desired endgame. Irrelevant goals can distract and derail an otherwise effective set of objectives.

  5. Time-Limited: Actionable goals come with deadlines. Having a set timeframe allows for performance measurement, accountability, and a sense of urgency.

By implementing SMART criteria (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited), we aim to shift the vague exit timeline from 3-5 years to a specific date. This approach incorporates an actionable plan, empowering the owner to exit the business successfully.

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