Everyone has a reason for starting a business.
I started my business because I got fired from my job, and I had no prospects of getting a new job.
Some people start their business because they have a great idea.
Some people start their business because they want a better life for themselves.
Some people start a business because they hate their boss.
My Ugly Cousin Joe started his business because he lost a tooth wrestling a three-legged pig. That’s a story for another time. Oh, don’t be Joe.
One of the best questions to ask yourself is, “What is your exit plan for your business?”
I’ve asked this question to numerous people. Less than 10% of the people I ask actually have a well thought out answer.
At some point in your future life, you will be exiting your business. There could be any number of reasons for an exit.
- You could get burned out.
- You could sell the business.
- You could go bankrupt.
- You pass on from this life.
The type of exit plan one desires will ultimately influence the type of business one chooses to build.
My first business was a commercial cleaning business. My wife and I ran that business for around seven years.
The business made good money for the time involvement we had. When we first bought the business, it was great. We worked a few hours each evening and then a few hours on the weekends.
Then we had people working for us. This freed up our time from the day to day operations of the business.
One of the things that I grew weary of with the commercial cleaning business was working evenings and weekends.
In the early years of business ownership, the evening and weekend work didn’t bother me.
That was when Angel and I had no children. The business was much easier to own in those early years.
Then I got heavily involved in school and work. We had some challenges with finding good people to work for us.
Then Angel and I started our family.
Working weekends and evenings as we were building our family became more difficult.
I didn’t spend much time marketing the business so our we had no real growth in the business.
However, we did have attrition with our customer base.
No matter what, a business will lose customers.
That was the case with the commercial cleaning business. Near the end of our tenure with the commercial cleaning business, we had just a handful of customers.
I had no desire to do commercial cleaning work anymore, so I shut the business down.
I had never developed a true exit plan for the commercial cleaning business.
With the commercial cleaning business, I chose not to market the business.
The business did not grow, so it slowly died until I put an end to the business.
With my accounting practice, I had a different exit plan.
I enjoyed the business and was very happy with the work I was doing.
I determined that this was going to be a lifestyle business that would provide me with a nice salary and enough money to max out my 401(k) each year.
My exit plan with the accounting practice was to make my target salary each year, so I could live a good life and save for my retirement.
If that sounds like what most people with jobs do, there is a reason for that.
My accounting business wasn’t really a business.
I had built a freelancing job with this the accounting business.
Nothing wrong with that. For several years, I was super fulfilled in that business.
However, over time, I realized that the work that once was super fulfilling was not as enjoyable as it once had been.
I recognized that it was time for a change.
The exit plan for the accounting business was to work until I was in my mid-sixties and then move on to the golden years of retirement.
For most of my life, the thought of retirement was a societal norm I bought into.
I saved for retirement. However, I never have had plans to stop working.
The idea of not working seems very foreign to me.
I derive so much enjoyment from work. I suspect I would have difficulty having fulfillment in my life without work.
Because of my enjoyment of work, I don’t think I’ll ever stop working.
I think if I stopped working, I would start the process of slowly dying.
That may be a bit dramatic. However, that is the current perception I have around what makes me happy.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to design my work in a way that gives me my ideal money life.
Based on my belief that I never planned on stopping working, in the past, I felt like the lifestyle business would give me what I wanted out of life.
Then last September, everything changed. I realized I had to grow a different type of business.
I realized that the accounting business had some inherent limitations that I was no longer willing to tolerate.
The single biggest limitation of the accounting practice is me. If something happens to me, the business will die quickly.
I saw this very thing happen to one of my good friends nearly ten years ago.
My friend was a very successful Certified Public Accountant who owned his own business.
He had a freak medical accident that ended his life in his mid-thirties. He had two young daughters and a wonderful wife that lived on after his death.
It was a very tragic situation for so many reasons.
His business ended when he passed on.
I determined that I needed to play a different business game. A different business game that allowed me to scale my business.
Which is the reason for me building Ideal Money Live Inc.
With my business Ideal Money Life Inc, my exit plan is that I will build the business to annual revenues north of $5 million per year.
I don’t foresee a time when I’ll want to sell this business.
The exit plan for Ideal Money Life Inc is that I will exit the business when I pass from this life.
I will build it in such a way that the business will provide goods and services to customers without my involvement in the day to day operations.
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the Cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
It is a fact. You will exit your business. Now is the time to think about how you want to exit the business.
Unless you think seriously about that exit plan, then it doesn’t matter what road you take.