I had a chance to meet up with a few old friends few months back. It was kind of a ‘meeting’ but what we did was enjoying our lunch. Our story revolves around our daily life, families and business. Though it was not a well-planned meet up, we had a chance to gather information and exchange experience of current and past.
“So, how’s your new business?” asked one of my friends who sat next to me while I was enjoying my food.
“Oh, which one?” I grinned.
“Oh, how did you plan to exit your business earlier? We were thinking of doing something new next year. What do you think?”
“I believe you have a plan ready in mind.” I smiled to them.
“You see, exiting from what we are now needs a plan. Personally, I took 3 years to see clearly of what exactly is my exit plan.”
“3 years?” both of them looked at me.
“Yes. Well, you know. It was kind of a lonely journey. Though we manage the business well, we did not think much about the company growth. We had little understanding about doing business with new partners and how to build our company. “
I stopped as I saw all eyes were on me. I know that I have to continue.
“We are in a business where everything is there, including the brand and the system. We are happy with the income and the bank statement that we receive every month. After a while, I personally came to a stage of thinking, what’s next?” I saw them nodding as they listened to what I just said.
“People told us that it is normal to take business loan and bank facilities. But, we hardly get the right advice on using the best way of building our company. Many advised us on sales, people and system in our business.
We can have a lot of money and be happy with our sales in our company. But, what’s next? How about the growth of the company? When can we move on to the next business venture? When can we have more new partners in the company? “
“Yeah, I think I got your point. I guess, our current business is not really ours.” said the girl in front of me.
“What do you mean?” asked the one sat next to me.
She continued, “You see. Customers are not in our control. Once our business is only about sales, I don’t see the way to move forward. If our objectives is only to make money with one company, than, we can simply continue with what we do now.”
I continue to focus on my food, which was left alone for few minutes ago.
She continued,” I think I understand now. I am also imagining that I have a business, which grow with the people. I would want to be somewhere else and still able to have a steady income.”
“I guess, we have to decide whether we still wanted to work in the business or on the business.” said, the girl sat next to me, softly but loud enough for everyone to hear.
The three of us enjoyed our lunch that day with our mind full of thoughts. As I went home, I realized that there are so much that we need to learn in business.
We learnt a lot about developing our business based on one company. We grow our sales, but not our business.
We know that we need to build our business, and the company is a platform and a vehicle for us to move on.
We only think about who will take over our business and continue it when we are not around, when we already half way in the business. We are not exposed on how to have a good succession plan in mind, right from the beginning.
We have heard many success stories from all over the world. We hardly being told that growing in business need a skill and knowledge about ‘company building’.
We attended many trainings, courses and receive advises mainly to start, increase and maintain the revenue of the business in a company. We were not being exposed to the fact that a business grow, with a group of people through a process of building more than one company.
We have seen many businesses grow through their family lines and members. Little that we know about those husband and wife, parents and children who were in business had a company structure that allows them to do business professionally.
They might look as if they are working in the same company, where actually they are working only in the same corporation but in different companies.
‘Exit plan’ in a business is a process. Succession plan is not an event.