Hispanic Business Planning & Transitions
19 Jun, 2012
The Accidental Entrepreneur CHAPTER 5Nothing lasts forever. Nothing, including you. So even as you are building your Hispanic business and totally preoccupied with day-to-day operations, at some point you have to act on the exit strategy you had built into your firm’s strategic plan. Because as an entrepreneur I really didn’t start my company with grand designs of building an empire or being the boss of the world, I always expected to sell my company to a larger firm at some point. I hoped to build enough value to have my company worth something substantial, but I was also building a team, a capability, and a presence in my community.
Over the years various acquisitive companies had courted us. Some weren’t very good fits, some turned us off completely, one in particular was spectacular and we were really jazzed and it looked like this was going to be IT, but then their parent company got in trouble and they were sold off. We entertained offers that were weak, weird, insulting, insufficient or just plain odd. And we turned them all down.
Some were easy to dismiss, but in any serious ‘look’, before a formal offer was tendered we had to do a lot of due diligence work, starting with an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and running through past three years of financial data, projections and disclosures. It was often a lot of work for nothing, a lot of costly CPA time, and a lot of executive time. But along the way, we did learn a lot about the process and about our own operations. Ultimately I didn’t regret it, even if I might have at the time.
One aspect of transition planning is being prepared for your possible untimely demise – that is, insurance. That includes key man insurance (an anachronistic expression meant to include female executives as well), and contingencies for incapacitation or death. Stuff happens. Besides, many of your clients will expect this to be in place. And part of this is training your key staff to take over for you – very handy for vacations, crucial in crises. So one of your key jobs as an entrepreneur is to train your staff to be able to take over for you should the need arise. They might not have your personality, they might not have your exact skills, but training is one of your most important jobs.
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