Begin with The End in Mind

Often business owners are exhorted to build their business with "the end", or their eventual exit in mind.  This can be a good idea in that it lends toward building your business to have "transferable value", or value that someone else will want to buy and own when you're ready to leave.  Value apart from you the owner.

It is also wise to build your exit plan with the end in mind.  The end being, not just your eventual exit from the business, but also your exit from this life.  In other words, creating your business exit plan with your "desired legacy" in mind.  Each of us leaves a legacy, but we don't all leave the legacy that we want to leave.  

We find that when thinking of legacy, business owners often focus on the transition of wealth.  And certainly, the effective distribution of wealth to future generations is a most important consideration.  At the same time, there are other significant and unique factors pertaining to the legacy of a business owner:

  • Family peace and harmony
  • Provision for family and others
  • Sustaining the culture of the business
  • Effective transfer of personal and business values to future generations
  • Reputation and role of the business in the community | Family name in the community and marketplace
  • Continued service to employees, customers, vendors, local economy
  • Being prepared for the unexpected
  • The way(s) in which the business owner wants to be remembered

This is a limited and representative list of issues and categories for reflection and planning pertaining to the legacy of a business owner.  You may have other priorities and desires.  The point is, in order to leave your desired legacy, it will take reflection, planning, and time to execute the plan.  Get started as soon as possible, as we don't know how long we have to create a plan for our desired legacy.

Patrick Ennis

Ennis Consulting & Conciliation, Montgomery Village, MD

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