Owning and operating an SME business a roller coaster ride full of difficult and contradictory actions. Daily activities of marketing, sales, operations and cash management need to be kept in sync to make the business go forward.
In addition to all these aspects of your business, keeping an eye on market trends and scenarios to prepare an appropriate exit strategy are also important, but not, above all other aspects.
Being ready for sale and for potential equity opportunities is good, but a heavy focus on this can be detrimental to your business. A complete focus on running your business to get it ready for sale can hamper the daily activities which are needed to build a good sustainable business.
Sometimes nurturing your business for sale will not go according to your best defined plans because of too many unknowns in the future – economic conditions, personal health, financial performance, industry changes, regulatory impediments, global activities are just a few. Thus, we believe it is critical to not focus on "preparing for sale" as your strategic objective.
Instead of this single focus such as "I am going to sell my business in 3 years" we believe it is important to build the best business you can. Why? So you have options - when you have a great business you can take one of three choices - sell if you so desire; embrace the achievement and commit to going forward again; or step back and allow your trusted lieutenants to take more responsibility. That's it, three choices.
But if you focus your decisions on selling your business, you will make sub-optimal decisions while running your business. What if the economy falters and it's not appropriate to sell? What if you get a great growth opportunity and you haven't got internal capacity to execute? What if you fall ill and you haven't built a team who can accept responsibility?
A saying from W.B.Yeats “Life is a long preparation for something that never happens” is best suited for business preparing for sale, but not able to sell. So become "sale ready" by being strategic, structured and organised. Don't have a single focus on selling your business; you might be left running it.