5 Exit Strategies to Consider When Leaving Your Business

We all think about our brand and spend hours planning our business initially, but most never consider when and how we will exit the business. Let alone think of this at the beginning when we are still in the development phase. Yet, there are several reasons you should consider your exit and why you should consider it from the start.

Whether your business is successful or not, there are many things to consider when leaving your company.

What is an exit strategy?

In a nutshell, it’s your plan when it comes to your exit from your business. Whether that be a sale, a merger, or a liquidation, your goal should be considered before you start, and it should remain fluid through the life of your business. You also need to assess market conditions and adjust accordingly.

Today, we will discuss the five most common strategies: the merger, the acquisition, the friendly sale, initial public offerings (otherwise known as IPO), and liquidation. Now understand, these are the five most common, but not the only. It could even come down to bankruptcy.

Why is an exit strategy necessary?

You’ve heard the saying that it only takes a few seconds to make a first impression; well, we also need to understand that your last move sets the tone for your legacy. And your company’s brand is just as important as your personal brand, especially when it comes to determining its worth. You’ve invested a large part of your life and money into your business, and you don’t want a poor reputation to keep you from capitalizing on your hard work. 

Just because you are planning for your exit in the future doesn’t mean that you have doubts or think you will fail; it just means that you have put together a clear set of objectives and have a plan for when you meet those objectives.

So, you’ve built a brand, and now it’s time to leave; what do you do, and what do you consider at that time?

There are many things you will need to keep in mind when considering your exit. 

For example:

  • Objectives – If you understand the objectives from the start, you will be able to plan accordingly.
  • Timeline – An understanding of the timeline will help you stay on track. It’s never too early to start planning your exit; as a matter of fact, you should always consider the end right from the beginning.
  • Intentions – What is your vision for your company’s life after you. Will you sell it to family, management, or employees? Do you want to stay involved in its operations, or do you want to make a clear break?

Here are 5 Exit Strategies to Consider When Leaving Your Business


Mergers are when two companies come together and become one; however, you would be expected to stay in a managerial role overseeing the daily operations. This strategy lends itself towards a gradual transition over time; however, it is essential to note that you will not have the authority to implement a change like you had in your company.

Mergers typically take place within the same industry and will increase the value of your business as your business becomes more profitable due to its increase in size. The benefit of a merger is that you will have an opportunity to grow even more significantly in your new role. However, this may not be the best strategy if you look to retire and step aside entirely. 

Types of mergers

  • Horizontal – When both businesses are in the same industry
  • Vertical – Both companies are part of the same supply chain
  • Conglomerate – The two firms have nothing in common
  • Market Extension – The businesses sell the same product but to different markets
  • Product extension – Both companies will grow more together

Merger Examples

  • America Online and Time Warner
  • AT&T and Bell South
  • Exxon and Mobil

Like any other business deal, you must do your due diligence and make sure that a merger is right for you and fits your values and vision.


An acquisition is when one company will outright buy your company. As the seller, you will be giving up full ownership of your company. The purchasing company is usually a competitor, and they are often willing to pay a higher rate.

Because this is an outright sale, you must be ready to give up all involvement, and you may even have to sign a non-compete.

An acquisition can be friendly or hostile. However, it is likely to be friendly if you plan for an acquisition. Still, you should note that an acquisition process can be lengthy.

Acquisition Examples

  • Amazon acquired Whole Foods
  • Microsoft acquired LinkedIn
  • Disney acquired 21st Century Fox

Friendly Sale

You may be planning your retirement, and you may want to see your business live on under someone else’s ownership. In many cases, you can sell to someone you know as an exit strategy. A benefit of this is that it is likely that your business will continue functioning with the same core values.

During a friendly sale, you may sell to a family member, typically a child, a friend, or an employee. It could even be a colleague or a customer.

However, consider the drawbacks before selling your business to someone you know or are acquainted with, as this could lead to resentment. You don’t want to jeopardize personal relationships over your business. Disclose things like liabilities and the profitability of your business before a family, friend, or acquaintance buys it from you.

This is a great option when considering your legacy, as you can mentor your successor along the way. You could even hold an advisory role and transition out over time.

IPO – Public Offering

An IPO or Initial Public Offering is when a public business gives up part ownership to public stockholders. This is more common in larger companies. You may have to give up some or all company control when going public. It is also important to note that going public takes a significant amount of time and money, so if you want a quick exit, this may not be the strategy for you.

IPO Examples

  • Facebook
  • Visa
  • General Motors


Liquidation is often the last resort to a business that is struggling to survive. They balance the value of their assets against their debt to determine if this is the right move. When selling off your assets, you need to understand that you will be selling them at a discounted rate, and the proceeds will go to your creditors before you or your investors.

This strategy is quick, down, and dirty, as you simply sell off your assets, pay off your creditors, and lock the doors. This strategy can not only damage relationships with your creditors, but it can damage relationships with your employees and your clients. It can also damage your reputation and, therefore, your legacy. 

So, what’s the best exit strategy?

Well, my favorite response is, it depends. It depends on a few things, like involvement; how much do you want to be involved in the business after the transfer of ownership? Needs, what are your financial obligations? Or valuation; what is your company’s worth?

Most importantly, you need to consider what is best for you and your business.

3 Quick Ways To Become A Great Leader

Six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and MVP five times.  If there was ever a person with natural talent, Michael Jordan was it.  From the time he was a young boy, he never stopped pushing himself. His father said, “The person Michael tries to outdo most is himself.”

You may not be slam-dunk material, but as a manager you should never stop developing yourself.  Just like some athletes, many great leaders are born with a certain amount of natural talent.  And just like those athletes, they have to expand on that talent with continuous training and, in the field of management, education.  The responsibility falls on them to move forward with drive and desire.  If you want to become a great leader, be like Mike and take the bull by the horns.  In this game called life, it’s all up to your personal motivation.  Here are three quick ways to become a great leader.

Commitment to Growth

As a manager, set goals for yourself and your company.  Once the goals are set, you can begin establishing a plan to achieve them.  Without a plan, you’re like a player who dribbles and never shoots: up, down, up, down, with no momentum moving down the court.  Your company’s success depends on the growth of you and your team, so set clear and realistic goals and objectives for both.  Set milestones and offer incentives.  The end goal should always be your objective, but the day-to-day goals are what will show your growth and progress.

Stand by Your Word

To be a great leader, you should understand that your word is everything.  The relationship you build with your team is based on trust.  If you want to earn and keep the respect of your team, them not being able to trust you is not an option.  The quickest way to lose that trust is to go back on your word.  If you promise a reward for a project successfully completed, make sure your team gets the reward.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Ask for Feedback

As a leader, your first role is to lead…  However, that does not mean that you should never stop and ask for feedback.  Whether it is guidance from a mentor, or suggestions from your team, you should welcome feedback.  You will never grow yourself without guidance at every level.  The only place for ego in business is at the door, so check it there. You are human, and your team will respect the fact that you are including them in your growth.

As a manager it is easy to be a boss, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and drive to be a leader.  A leader needs to set the standards, from the way they dress to the effort they put forth.  Set your goals, keep your word, and ask for feedback.  Let your team know that you are there for them, as well as with them.

How To Create A Killer Twitter Profile For Professionals

Twitter is one of the top social media platforms for news, entertainment, and advice.  There are over 200 million users, and they are sending out over 400 million tweets per day.  Twitter is one of the best platforms to represent yourself as an expert in your field and build an industry related following.  Twitter is also one of the most simplistic networks to set-up and use, so let’s get started.

Twitter Handle

Your handle is the “@” symbol followed by the name you want to go by when on Twitter.  Think ahead when selecting your handle and keep your other social media sites in mind.  Try to use the same handle for all of your sites.  Keep it simple and easy to remember.  Use your name if it’s available.  You should think of this as your signature.


This is where you need to stop and think.  You want to write a catchy bio which tells who you are and what you do.  You can also add a bit of personal information and some humor.  However, you should be strategic when writing your bio.  Think of how you want to be thought of or what people will be searching for.  Use industry-related key words.  You only have 160 characters, so make them count.


Make sure you list the closest major city and state to you (this will allow you to show up in geo-searches).


Include a link to your website or blog, but do not include the “http://www.”

Profile Picture

It is extremely important to select the right photo to use as your profile picture.  Make sure you use a professional photo, and it is a good idea to use the same photo from your LinkedIn profile.  It should be a clear head shot and depict your personality.  Yes, you should smile.  This image should be 81×81 px.

Profile Header

This is one of the most important steps in creating a Twitter Profile for business.  This image should be 520×260 px.  Note that your name, handle, and bio will be placed over this photo, so make sure you will be able to read that text.  You can add some more custom information here, but don’t overdo it.  A simple tag line or a note letting visitors know where else they may find you on the web will do.

Profile Background

Twitter allows you to add a background image to your profile.  Most people don’t add a background photo.  However, if you choose not to add one, you will be missing out on some valuable real-estate.  You can add a custom background and include any important information in the side bar.  This image should be centered, under 2MB, and not under 600 px (1252×626 is recommended).


You should tweet relevant photos to engage your following.  The most recent 6 will show up in your side bar, so post 6 photos right away.


You can organize the accounts you follow into lists.  Twitter allows you to create up to 20 different lists, and you can add up to 500 accounts to each list.  This is not only a great way to stay organized, but it’s also a great way for you to see only what you want to see (without ads) when you are browsing your feed.  You can create a list of clients, potential clients, related companies, etc.  You can also make these lists public or private.  If you make them public, other people can follow your list.


You want to post when your target audience is online.  If you are looking for maximum engagement and RT’s (Re-Tweets), then post late afternoon or early evening.  Unlike other networks, it is acceptable to post the same tweets at different times of the day.  Note: Twitter moves fast, so your tweet doesn’t spend much time in the feed of your followers.


Tweets, or Posts, are the way you get your message out.  Be strategic when it comes to the content and time of your posts.  Share breaking news, articles, and other industry related information.  Be the person whom others turn to for updates and questions.  Make sure your content is both engaging and valuable.  There are over 140 million tweets per day, so you will need to make yours stand out.

Tweet Format

There is a 140-character limit to your tweet, so you have to make every character count.  Lead off with your message or call to action.  Next, include a shortened link to what you are referencing.  Finally, consider using one or two relevant hash tags.

#Hash Tags#

A hash tag is a way to link related information.  If you are sharing an article about social media, you may want to include the hash tag “social media” (#socialmedia).  Then, anyone reading your post who would like to see more information regarding social media can simply click on the hash tag, and they will see a feed of social media related posts.  You can also use this to make a connection for company related events or products.


Make sure you monitor your communication and provide timely feedback.  Thank those who leave compliments and respond to those who have complaints.  This is your chance to make it right, so take full advantage of it.


Show the love…  comment on posts, provide feedback, and add insight.  Re-Tweet if you feel the post adds value to your following.  If you do re-tweet, be sure to add some personal commentary.

Direct Message

If you follow a person and they follow you back, you will be able to send them a private direct message.  If there isn’t a mutual following, your messages will be as public tweets on their profile.

Now that you’ve set-up your account and have customized it to represent your brand, you can now start using it.  First things first, start following industry related people and companies.  You should follow at least 10-20 new people per day.  Once you start following other accounts, you will notice your followers building.  Follow those who engage with you.  Remember, follow mostly industry related accounts, and never purchase followers just to look popular.  Your followers will grow in time.

This is a social network, so be social.  Under your profile header, Twitter will display the number of accounts you follow and the number of accounts that follow you.  They will also display the number of tweets you have made and the number of posts you have liked.  It is important to stay active and give people a reason to follow you.  Remember Twitter moves fast, so share and share often.  Don’t be too pushy or over sell.  Actually, don’t sell much at all.  You should focus on sharing engaging content and developing meaningful relationships.