Your company is up and running, this is an exciting and busy time for you. However, it's important to consider your end-game. What’s your plan for when you eventually need to step away from the company? Do you have a plan for departure? Your Exit Plan is a crucial aspect of business planning that can decide your company’s future success.
An Exit Plan is a comprehensive strategy that outlines how a founder intends to leave their business when they are ready to retire, sell, or move on to another venture.This plan is crucial for startups because it provides a clear roadmap to success, reduces risk, and maximizes value.
Unfortunately, many founders in the SaaS and IT industries do not consider developing an exit plan, which can lead to significant consequences. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation; a foundation that provides access and support for startups, only 30% of businesses have a comprehensive exit plan. In contrast, businesses with an exit plan experienced a 20% higher survival rate than those without one.
Moreover, having a well-prepared exit plan makes a company more attractive to potential investors, partners, and buyers, as they are seen as organized and stable. This is especially important for SaaS and IT startups that rely heavily on investment and partnerships to grow and scale.
An exit strategy is important to startups for several reasons:
An exit strategy provides a clear roadmap for the startup to follow. It outlines the steps the company needs to take to achieve its goals and helps to keep everyone on track.
Having a well-thought-out exit strategy can make a startup more attractive to investors. Investors are more likely to invest in a company that has a clear plan for how they will eventually provide a return on investment.
Knowing what the end goal is can help the startup make better decisions in the present. For example, if the goal is to sell the company in five years, the startup may decide to prioritize growth and revenue over profitability in the short term.
An exit strategy can help mitigate risk by providing a way out if the startup is not performing as expected. If the company is not meeting its goals, the founders can use the exit strategy to pivot or sell the company.
An exit strategy can also provide motivation for the founders and the team. Knowing that there is a potential big payout at the end of the road can help keep everyone focused and working hard towards the company's goals.
There are several types of exit strategies for businesses, including an initial public offering (IPO), acquisition by another company, board buyout, and passing on the company to family. The choice of an exit strategy depends on various factors, such as the business's size, and owner's goals.
Having a professional team help with preparing the exit plan is crucial for SaaS and IT startups. A professional team can provide objective advice, help assess value, and identify potential buyers or partners. This team can include accountants, attorneys, financial advisors, and business brokers.
It is best to have an exit plan in place as early as possible, even before starting a business. A well-developed exit plan can help shape the business's direction and focus, ensuring that it is aligned with the owner's long-term goals. However, it is never too late to create an exit plan. Business owners should regularly review and update their exit plan as their business grows and changes.
In the SaaS and IT industries, adjusting and changing the plan as the startup grows is normal and expected. The business environment is constantly changing, and a startup must remain adaptable to succeed. Business owners should be willing to make necessary changes to their exit plan to ensure that it aligns with the company’s current goals and objectives.
Startups should aim to have an exit plan in place as early as possible and regularly review and update it to ensure that it remains relevant and effective. Remember, having an exit plan is not just about preparing for the worst but also about setting your business up for long-term success.