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Is now the right time to exit your business?

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It’s one of the most important decisions you will make. And one of the most difficult. Is it time for you to exit stage left and say goodbye to your business?

There are a few unmistakable signs that it is indeed the right time – for you and the business – to move on.


A successful run and natural progression, like retirement, may be the impetus for your exit. It may be that all the goals you identified in your succession plan and exit strategy have been met. If so, you’ve prepared for this moment and you’re likely ready.

Or perhaps you’ve done such a bang-up job that the needs of the business have outgrown what you can reasonably provide. It’s time for someone else to take the helm.

But you could also be encountering one of these reasons:

But just because it’s the right time for you to exit doesn’t mean it’s the right time. Both the business and the market environment should also be in the right space.

The business

When you’re having a tough time in your business, your business can be unhappy and unhealthy, too. Before you make your exit move, your business should be in great shape, with:

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best time to sell your business is likely when it’s doing better than it ever has.

The environment  

Market conditions, technology and the regulatory environment can all affect your business, and your exit strategy. Some questions to ask:

Preparing to exit  

Whether your plan is to sell, transfer or merge, there are key activities to undertake to ensure you’re prepared and to position your business to command top dollar:

If your business is in decline and not valuable enough for someone else to acquire, you may simply decide to liquidate inventory and close your doors.

Regardless, how and when to exit your business is a significant decision that deserves careful thought and planning.

Between them, Boni and John Wagner-Stafford have five decades of experience as entrepreneurs and/or providing consulting services to other small businesses across Canada. Boni and Joni are the authors of Rock Your Business: 26 Essential Lessons to Plan, Run, and Grow Your New Business From the Ground Up.

Boni and John are Troy Media contributors. Why aren’t you?

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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