Let’s look at the first Universal Objective in small business succession planning: What is your Target Departure Date? Setting the departure date is crucial to creating an exit plan, yet it is very likely that date may be adjusted once or even several times before you actually exit your business. Sometimes this adjustment is caused by the owner changing the definition of what it means to depart the business. Perhaps you really would like to stay on in a much less involved capacity after you have your successor team in place instead of exiting entirely. Other times your financial goals simply cannot be met within the original time frame that was selected. Sometimes, you may just not be ready to go as soon as you thought you would!
So, as you ponder your exit plan, as yourself this question, what does leaving the business mean to you in terms of:
• How much you want to be involved in the business once you exit
• Responsibilities you would rather pass to others
• Beginning to transfer or sell some or all of your business ownership
Another question to consider, if you felt you could leave your business sooner, would you?