Start with the Ending
Stephen Covey was a masterful storyteller—one of the best I have ever had the privilege of listening to. In his seminal book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the first habit he describes is to “Begin with the End in Mind.” It means to “fast forward” to the end and describe what you want that to look like. After you have captured the essence of that time, then “rewind” to the present to see if you are doing the things today that will produce those results that you want in the future.
This principle forms the foundation for everything else in his model, and it’s a great reminder that if we want something to happen in the future, we need to make sure that the things we are doing today are on the path to that vision.
Do You Have a Transition Plan?
I use this concept when working with Trainers, Authors, and Speakers to help them start thinking about an exit strategy. My experience has shown that less than half of them have even considered how and when they would transition out of their business.
Once we’ve envisioned what they want that day to look like, we talk about what it will take to make that vision a reality. We walk through all the factors that determine the marketability of a business like theirs and then we “walk backwards” to the present, to see how what they are doing today is contributing to that future.
I think my clients would tell you that this exercise is an eye-opening experience for them and that, in fact, it often takes them several days to process the outcomes and come to grips with the reality of what they are doing today. When we regroup after that processing, we work together to get focused on the following:
- Getting crystal clear on what their vision for the future looks like
- Defining the outcomes necessary to achieve that vision
- Identifying the gaps in what they are doing today
- Putting together a plan to gain alignment with their vision
It’s never too early to start thinking about how you will one day transition out of your business. Research shows that companies that have a clear exit strategy have a much higher probability of a successful transition. And that research also shows that for those companies, the exit process runs much smoother and the selling price is much more attractive for the owners.