Exit Stage Right – Options #succession

Richard Shrapnel's Orienteering Succession blog

There are many options when it comes to your exit from your business. And which option is best for you should be drawn from the answer to two questions – what will underpin the business’s future success and what’s next for you?


Active Knowledge Question:

Do you actually have a ‘next for you’ planned?


Question 1:

If you have spent your life building a business, then for me the last thing you want to see is that business going backwards or failing. It is an integral part of your life’s legacy, and you should set it up to continue to win – even when you are no longer a part of it.

There are your customers, your employees and your suppliers, all of whom have been part of your business and its success. Ensuring the continuity of the business is an important responsibility of any business leader.

The business may be passed over to the next generation, it may be sold to employees, an investor or another business, you may appoint a management team to run it and maintain ownership – the options, combinations and variations are almost limitless. And all of this may apply to part or all of the business.

What will underpin the continuity, growth and success of the business is the question to be considered and answered. And there will typically be several options to be explored.

Question 2:

If every day has been filled with running your business, it is hard to suddenly turn that off even if you have progressively stepped away from or wound back many of the daily tasks.

Don’t be surprised when you feel a bit offended, lost and even hurt when things begin to happen without your input or consent. That’s part of the exit process and important so that the business learns to function without you.

The key to a clean exit, in whatever form that may take, is to have something to move onto. There will usually be the transition out that may take a few months, hopefully not years, but discover what comes next for you before that transition. And although many others may have ideas as to what you can or should do, it’s much better if it is what you want to do.

If you go ‘cold turkey’ and pack up your desk and leave with no continuing involvement in the business, nor any plans, then in my experience allow yourself six months. And then your days will be filled. Something just comes along, which clicks your interest and you’re into it.


Roll these two questions around, map out some thoughts, let them settle and take form, and you will find an exit plan that works for you. And which will provide an even greater level of personal fulfilment that you found in your business.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel