While generally overlooked in the startup process, planning an exit strategy should be done well before raising outside capital. Aside from improving ones chances of success, planning and preparing ahead of time is often known to significantly increase exit valuations.
At the age of 32, Kassardjian had the unfortunate experience of losing his father to cancer. At the time, Kassardjian was the vice president of his father’s company in South Africa and had to quickly take the reigns of a substantial enterprise.
With little to no experience running a company, Kassardjian took his father’s position and in a very short time had to find a replacement for himself, hire new staff, deal with banks, and outstanding loans through the transition. His father had not planned for his succession and thus left a very stressful and challenging task up to his son.
While this particular scenario isn’t always what we think of when it comes to exit strategies, planning for succession can be one of the many different objectives an entrepreneur may have to think about when it comes to the transitional process.
Kassardjian went over the basic fundamentals associated with the process along with a seven-step guide to building a successful exit strategy.
One of the questions posed to Kassardjian during the presentation was what one should start thinking about when it comes to putting together an exit strategy.
“Start to think of you because it’s about your exit. In fact, the earlier you start, the better off you will be,” says Kassardjian.
Trying to match personal objectives with the business is a great place to begin. Thinking about the big questions like what one wants out of life and how you see that connecting with a financial future is imperative to visualizing how that exit will come together according to Kassardjian.
We don’t know where our business will be at in the future but asking fundamental questions like whether you see yourself retiring from your business or working until the end of your days is key.
“Everything is very personal so the very first step should be to sit down and talk about you, your personal objectives, your family, what you want to do with your family, and how you can bring all those pieces together over time,” says Kassardjian.