Next to having relationships with the people you care most about, building a business is the most intimate thing you will ever invest time in. And like several other things that you cannot avoid, one day whether sooner or later, you will cease to be involved with the business you’ve created.

How well that transition goes and how profitable it is for you depends on how well you prepare for that day. Sadly, too few people are adequately positioned to fully leverage the equity they have in their business. Although few people would think of walking away from their home (until recently), many people walk away from years in a business and leave their equity untapped for lack of information and planning. How sad.

Is your business dependent on your presence or intellectual capital? Do you have a well-defined book of business? Do you have processes in place that make it possible for you to easily bring new people on board? Are you expecting a family member to assume responsibility? Have you thought that one day you would just sell your business? Do you know what valuation is and how that is determined for an existing business? If something happened to you in the near future, how would your business go on without you and how would those you provide for be taken care of?

Seasons change in life. Whether your changes are of necessity or by choice, how well you prepare for the transition will make an enormous difference in how much your business is worth and how smoothly it proceeds. Have you created an exit strategy for your business, and if not, when would you like to begin?