The purpose of exit planning is to increase the probability that business owners will be able to achieve their personal objectives in exiting their businesses, on their own terms and timetable. Without an exit planning process, most business owners will not be able to do so.

Here are the seven basic steps in exit planning.

1. Understand your own objectives and your own financial situation.
2. Understand the value of your business.
3. Develop a plan to improve the value of your business.
4. Develop a plan to preserve the value of your business.
5. Develop a plan to unlock the value of your business.
6. Update the plan regularly.
7. Execute the plan – on your own terms on your timetable.

Some business owners may be able to create their exit plan themselves. Others will be able to use their regular business advisors, including accountants and attorneys. Still others will be best served by working with an exit planning specialist.

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