There might be 50 ways to leave a lover, but not many ways to leave a company that you have built.
And most of them are going to involve you hanging around for years. Being told what to do by a bigger and most probably more bureaucratic organisation.
It’s hard for a lot of entrepreneurs to let go of control. You have to be a driven person to get all the stuff done that a growing business needs. You are either like that or have learnt the hard way. And what some people might call control-freaks are more often just people getting stuff done.
But if delegating to people you employed, and manage, is hard for you, imagine what it will be like when you are the one that gets told what to do. You’re probably not up fo it.
I think the logical path through this stuff is to think about the reasons a potential buyer might like to keep you around, and train your people to do and manage those things.
Most often it’s going to be your ability to bring in business. I’ve always maintained that founders need to bring in the first $20M, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set up solid sales processes and sales support infrastructure. And all that time you should be training the senior people in your business to also win work by taking them with you when you pitch to clients, by showing them how to do it. It might take five or more years to do this but the way to think about good long-term plans is to remember that you will be five years older in five years time regardless. So start as soon as possible.
Day to day management of projects and people should be systemised and delegated as soon as you can. There is a second reason to do this, at about $10M you won’t be able to know what everyone is doing all the time. The business won’t be able to grow past $10M for any length of time. Like being stuck in 2nd gear and hitting the rev limiter, stalling, then doing it all over again.
The most important way to make sure all these important activities stay on track, and are size appropriate, is to have good financial and operational reporting.
That’s where we can help. Hit us up.