Part 69: Handing Over the Keys to Your Company – How Small & Mid Sized Companies Grow

Did you ever consider when it might be time to hand over the keys to your company so to speak? Some owners have no exit plan and want to run the company indefinitely and have given no real thought to doing anything else but staying in business. Others have an objective they want to achieve and then merging, being acquired, or cashing out after some objective is achieved. Have you given any thought as to which of these two scenarios might fit you.

During the initial phase of a new company the first option is usually all one wants to focus on, how do they succeed, serve a need, make money, grow and survive. But after some period of time they start to think do they want to do this indefinitely or have some exit plan and essentially hand over the keys in one form or another to someone else. There is nothing to compel anyone from just running their business and making enough of a profit to run the business for as long as they are able. Indeed most entrepreneurs do exactly that, earn a living from their business and when they can no longer do that, turn the key and lock the doors. But there is a better way

That is to capitalize on the value of the company that you created. To do this you can either sell the business outright which works best if it is profitable and growing, or do an internal buyout with your management team. This is easier to do if you have a reasonable mature staff that with a bit of business mentoring can run the business on their own and pay you out of the internal cash flow of this business what the company is worth. They can be your family members, people already working for you or bringing people in who would welcome this opportunity. It is equivalent to handing the key to the store over to them and gifting them the company. They pay you nothing and after a few years the company is theirs. There are many ways to structure this, including receiving continued dividends, but the deal works like a mortgage on a house, until the last payment to the property is made the bank (you) still owns title to the business which helps to insure that the new owner/management team keeps their eyes on the ball and there is little incentive to siphon money funds from your repayment. The sooner that payment in full is made the sooner the business is theirs.

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