Bo Burlingham has spent much of his career writing about the lives of entrepreneurs. I recently interviewed him at his home in the rustic hills of Oakland, California.
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We talked about the need to plan for a strong and successful conclusion to a business career, as described in his recent book, Finish Big. Bo discussed seven factors that characterized owners who had happy exits:
(10:55) You must know who you are, what you want and why.
(11:44) You have to build a sellable business—a business that you could sell when you wanted, to whom you wanted, for an amount you considered fair.
(11:20) You have to give yourself enough time. Most people don’t start thinking about exiting early enough. You need to find a successor, and it takes a long to time to get that right.
(13:15) You have to get the right advice from others who have exited their own businesses in the past.
(13:50) You have to become very clear in your own mind about what you want to have happen to the people in the company for you to feel at peace afterwards.
(14:20) You must do as much do diligence on the buyer as the buyer is going to do on you. You want to find out why they really want to own the company. Otherwise you are in for some bad surprises.
(14:44) You have to figure out what you are going to to do after the exit, who you are going to serve. Bo found that many people after they leave their company don’t know who they are anymore. They no longer know what their purpose is in life.
Question: What will you do after you are finished with your current work?