5 reasons to run your business like you plan to sell it (even if you don’t)

business exit planning entrepreneurship exit strategy value creation
5 reasons to run your business like you plan to sell it

My life changed when I made the decision to transform my business into a valuable asset I could sell for a huge profit. 

I spent two years removing myself from the daily operations, installing a leadership team, and building out recurring revenue streams

In the space of two years, I’d go from feeling trapped by my business to selling it for seven figures

That was the right choice for me, but I could have easily stayed on at the helm of my business and earned a tidy profit each year without much stress.

Here are five reasons you should run your business as if you plan to sell it – even if you don’t. 

Freedom

It can be tempting to make your entire business revolve around you.

After all, it’s your business. And the only way to guarantee your vision is executed exactly as you want is to be the one making each and every decision. 

But this comes at a huge cost – your freedom. 

Us entrepreneurs are driven by some common values: freedom, adventure, experience, and contribution. 

Insisting on being at the center of everything in your business is a surefire way to live almost none of those values. 

Building a business that thrives without you is the real route to freedom. 

At one point in my entrepreneurial journey, stepping away from my business for a single day felt impossible. In fact, I could probably count the minutes I didn’t spend thinking about my business each day on my hands.

I’d set out to forge my own freedom, and I’d ended up creating my own prison sentence. 

Once I put the right processes in place and built a leadership team around me, I started making a life as an entrepreneur, not just a living.

You get your life back when you transform your business into an owner-independent organisation. 

You have time to spend with your friends and family, pursue hobbies and interests, and look after your health. 

After all, you didn’t become an entrepreneur to become a workaholic zombie. 

By putting processes and systems in place, and building a strong leadership team, you create a business that can thrive without you. You achieve freedom.  

Value

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of growth for growth's sake. 

And if you get caught up in a race to be the biggest, it’s tempting to hack and hustle your way to the top by any means necessary. 

That makes you vulnerable to a serious case of ‘shiny object syndrome’ – chasing whatever the latest and greatest opportunity is to make a quick profit, no matter how far it takes you from your business’s core purpose. 

I can tell you from personal experience that this only leads to burnout and a business that’s riddled with challenges. 

An organisation that’s going in a dozen different directions at once and isn’t guided by any clear purpose isn’t an attractive investment opportunity. 

Imagine you’re getting your business fit to sell – even if you’re not – and you’ll be forced to intentionally build a valuable asset with a clear sense of purpose. 

You’ll be focused on establishing a core value proposition, setting your business apart from the competition, and building a marketable brand

Instead of short-term profit, your focus will be on long-term market dominance. This will pull you down the path to delivering a handful of excellent products or services to a well-defined target audience. 

And that’s not just the recipe for a business you can sell for a healthy profit – it’s also the route to a profitable business you can run for years.

Wealth

Your business is one of the most valuable assets you will ever own. 

And the best way to increase the value of that asset – whether you plan on cashing in on it or not – is to look at it through the eyes of an acquirer.

Owning an asset that appeals to buyers gives you options. 

You can stay at the helm and reap the rewards from the profits it accrues for as long as you want. And you’ll have the option of selling it for a handsome lump sum if you ever decide to call it quits. 

And you can rest assured that your future is secure even if worst comes to worst and you fall ill or have to stop working.

Satisfaction

A business with a purpose and a great culture attracts like-minded people. 

Coming to work is a pleasure when you’re running a company with seamless processes in place, a values-driven leadership team, a roster of happy clients, and a healthy stream of recurring revenue

You actually wake up every morning looking forward to getting into the office to work with people you love.

This might sound like a pipe dream if pulling yourself out of bed every weekday currently feels like preparing for battle. I’ve certainly been there myself

But when you build a business that isn’t completely reliant on you, you can choose when you work and what projects you tackle – which paradoxically makes work something you’re much more likely to want to do. 

This frees you to bring your best self into the office and start enjoying your work again instead of feeling like you need to spend every waking hour with your nose to the grindstone. 

Less stress

Most entrepreneurs don’t even think about stepping away from center stage in their business until it chews them up and spits them out. 

But when you proactively build a business that you can sell, growing it is a hell of a lot less stressful.

That’s because turning your business into a valuable asset you can sell at a premium removes many of the stresses that come with owning a company. 

You’ll need to establish a clear value proposition, a great company culture, and a strong leadership team. And you’ll need recurring revenue streams that generate predictable profit well into the future. 

With all this in place you can literally run your business from the beach if you want. 

Which transforms the process of growing it from a stressful slog into the kind of empowering experience us entrepreneurs seek. 

Whether you choose to sell your business after you’ve removed yourself from the daily operations is really irrelevant. Either way, having a more valuable business that’s far less stressful to run puts you in the perfect position as a business owner. 

Subscribe to The Freedom Experience podcast for more advice on how to build a valuable business that runs without you. 

And if you’d like help making the transition from workaholic zombie to the owner of a profitable business that thrives without you, find out how you can work with me.

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