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Run your business with the potential for sale in mind, even if you don’t intend to sell it anytime soon

Online business coach Laura Humphreys ( writes a regular column - "The Exit Factor" - in NZ Business magazine, including side-bar tips from business leaders.  This month, it was my turn:

There are three reasons why you should run your business with a potential sale in mind:

Bad news. What if something happened to you tomorrow and you could no longer go into work? You can’t predict life, but you can build a business that would continue to prosper without you.

Good news. What if an amazing lifetime opportunity came along tomorrow? Could you free yourself to seize it quickly? Or have you got an ‘albatross’ around your neck that would take months or even years to wind up or sell?

No news. Even if nothing happens, you'll have built your business properly. You'll own a great business that attracts more customers and makes more money, And when you do decide to sell, you'll be in the most empowering position of naming your price!

It’s all about discipline. Have a clear strategic purpose. Clarify your offer to the world and know how you will fulfil this offer. Make disciplined decisions. Ask yourself: “Will this add value to my business today and to a potential buyer in the future?” Run a tidy business, with tidy management practices, tidy accounts and tidy systems. Build a team to run the business when you are not there. And foster your reputation. Be talked about for all the right reasons. This will pay off for you right now as you attract more customers and also in the future when it’s time to execute your exit.