Posts tagged with: exit goals

Time Management – One Skill Set at a Time

In isolation, goal achievement, time management and productivity are immense skill sets to master for yourself and inculcate into your team. Business owners tend to get stuck in silos of focusing on only one skill set at a time. Intention, determination and focus are essential traits to achieve your goals, most especially on the road to your exit.

The way to leverage that time, energy, commitment and focus is to integrate your work. Indeed, there’s an alternative to working on your exit goals and getting good at that at the expense of not managing your time or crashing productivity statistics. Integrate all three into systems and processes to eliminate competition.

When you synchronize achieving your exit goals, time management and productivity, here are a few things that can happen:

  1. Coordinated control of goals, time and priorities
  2. Easier delegating – assigning and accepting responsibility
  3. Context and incentives to master time management tools and disciplines, and productivity habits. You will more likely hit your exit milestones on schedule
  4. Hiring and staffing to achieve your growth projections will be based on time and productivity, not guesswork
  5. Even as you accelerate growth, you, as the CEO, get more time off
  6. Fewer detours, dead-ends, delays or do-overs, saving time and money every time and with those processes documented, they can be clearly monetized for your buyers
  7. Goals get clearer and timelines get tighter
  8. Time management skill sets gets sharper, allowing you and every team member to be more productive
  9. Productivity systems and habits have a context that frees up 25% of your time
  10. The right person is responsible for each task/project, and they are not all you, the CEO.

I believe your ultimate goal achievement lies somewhere beyond the business exit itself, fulfilling your bigger purpose, freed of day-to-day management, living the lifestyle of your dreams with much more time off. Time management is one of those critical exit skill sets to master to get it all done.

Flawed Skill Sets of a Strategic CEO

In the area of skill sets struggling strategic CEOs lack, do you experience any of these?

  • No time to plan
  • Can’t stick to the plan
  • Can’t delegate/afraid to delegate
  • Stuck in systems and tools that hold you back
  • Still using systems and structures you have long outgrown
  • Trying to wear all the hats
  • No control of financials
  • Trying to be the technician and the visionary
  • Never enough time for your most important activities
  • No time for strategy and planning
  • No tracking/monitoring/measuring
  • No accountability in the organization
  • Poor time management skills
  • Mismatch between market needs and company capacity to serve and respond
  • Use/misuse/lack of automation or relevant technologies
  • Too much operational responsibility to focus on CEO oversight role
  • No development of management or grooming of successors

If any of these is a challenge, then you are still working too much in your business. Instead, you need to prioritize working on your business. You need to build up your strategic skill set. These are the core responsibilities you will be responsible for in exit planning.

To take on more strategic responsibilities and help the organization morph into a structure and business model that can grow to fulfill its true potential, you must delegate operational roles, responsibilities, tasks and control. This does not happen overnight. This transition goes hand-in-glove with your exploring your exit goals and exit options.

Mindset

Your mindset going in to exit planning is the most critical determinant of your successful outcome. There are a number of mindset factors that you must recognize and consider. Your mindset will determine your ability  to set and achieve your hopes and dreams. You have to be able to recognize and adhere to the process to achieve them. Most CEOs have dreams and goals of the outcome they want from their business. Many fewer CEOs reverse engineer their goals into a timeline, process, and a sequence to get to that exit.

Challenges will occur that could derail your exit plan, guaranteed. Fighting or resisting those challenges is an unproductive waste of time and energy. Instead, install and master a mindset to address, overcome, resolve, and circumvent each challenge as it arises.

Attitudes/mindset are often ignored or minimized when exploring what we need to learn to achieve our goals and get to an exit.

Most CEOs trained to emphasize the strengths of left-brain thinking, resist addressing or developing the right-brain skill of mindset readiness. Mindset readiness requires the most time to develop and is not easily measured or demonstrated. But your mental and emotional attitudes are the most important of all learning components because your attitude/your mindset is the gatekeeper that determines how well you acquire, master and apply any other skill set and knowledge.

Entrepreneurs stubbornly adhere to tired outdated thinking which in turn sets up their business to continually struggle, not achieve its full potential and settle for selling their business for only a fraction of its worth. That downfall is totally preventable.

In the area of mindset, attitudes and beliefs, do you experience any of these? Make note of the ones that apply to you.

  • Have no exit goals
  • Can’t set exit goals
  • Don’t know how to set exit goals
  • No consensus on exit goals
  • Can’t delegate/afraid to delegate
  • Prisoner of the entrepreneur’s trap  – Trying to wear all the hats
  • Scared to grow – because of past experience, old belief systems, systems or staff that slow or prevent your growth
  • Scared to share control, responsibility, ownership or profits
  • Scared to lose control
  • Easily distracted – by environment, people, events, equipment
  • Minimal goals/easy goals/short-term goals that don’t stretch individuals or the organization – to play it safe
  • No personal accountability of the leadership team/ of you
  • Still running the business as an opportunist
  • Resist building a strong business foundation for growth or increased value
  • Ignore or deny the need for exit planning
  • Ignore or deny the need for contingency planning
  • Ignore or deny the need for continuity planning
  • Ignore or deny the need for succession planning
  • Ignore or deny the need to plan for your transition
  • Ignore or deny the need to plan for your reinvention

You’ve heard the phrase:

Your attitude determines your altitude.

Your mindset is the key to everything you will achieve to exit your business when you want to. When you decide each of these elements is important enough to the business and to your future beyond the business, only then will you take action and:

  • Develop the skill sets
  • Acquire the necessary knowledge (direct learning or surround yourself with experts)
  • Develop plans, strategies, and tactics to achieve everything you want for your business and from your business when you exit.
  • Apply the discipline and leadership to accelerate growth and maximize value on your timeline.

“It’s a mindset – you’re only limited in scope by your own imagination and your ability to see through problems, challenges and roadblocks to the opportunities.”

 

To Get Goals Done – Be Accountable

Accountability is one of the hardest things for owners/entrepreneurs to commit to. You deserve the rewards of building a prosperous business. To get to your ideal exit, to get goals done to be able to get out, be accountable to them.

These 8 rules are not new, but they are essential to achieve the goals that will produce the results you desire. Embrace them to achieve your wealth producing exit goals.

  1. Postpone, De-emphasize Or Quantify Less Tangible Goals such as ‘create a great work environment’. Focus on those goals that will create wealth.
  2. Communicate Each Goal clearly to every single employee/contractor/team member. This is not a one-time task. Communication must be reinforced frequently and consistently.
  3. Measure Progress Weekly If you don’t want the accountability of measuring, then you might as well skip the goal setting and a profitable exit too. Measuring monthly is not enough pressure to get results for you or your team.
  4. Responsibility Identify a Single Point of Responsibility for each goal. Lousy employees avoid responsibility. Good employees accept responsibility. Great employees seek responsibility. As the leader, which category do you exemplify? The more you can delegate to great employees, the more effectively the organization can operate without your day-to-day presence.
  5. Follow Through On Each Goal Not every goal will focus on the cool stuff (new software, creative presentation, etc). It’s not hot or glamorous to balance the budget, resolve all website bugs within 48 hours, or take customer complaints but these tasks are essential to make the business a wealth-producing machine.
  6. Reward Achievers including you. This sends a message to everyone. Achievers will get reenergized about doing their jobs. Everyone else gets the message that you are building a company that values execution and results, and takes them seriously.
  7. A Culture of Execution It’s not a one shot deal. It’s a way of life, part of the corporate culture, the fabric of the company that adds measurable value. To establish a culture of goal execution, set an example by meeting your own operational and strategic goals, responding to clients effectively, and measuring the progress of each team member.
  8. Morpheus in The Matrix, gave Neo a choice between the red pill and the blue pill. That cold, brutal reality Morpheus offered Neo is your ally for execution of your goals to achieve your exit move on to your reinvention. Find your Morpheus to distribute the red pills and enable your team to see things as they really are to get optimum results.

Start with your freedom number and only set goals you can focus on and want to be accountable for achieving, to produce the wealth you desire.

Focus On Where You Want To Go

Have you ever had to drive home on snowy roads before the plows were out? or on an icy road? It’s slippery, right? You don’t feel like you’re in control.

What’s the rule about how to drive out of a skid or a spin in that situation?

Focus on where you want to go,
not where the car appears to be going.

It’s the same with working on your goals to realize your dreams. You have to stay focused on the goals and not get discouraged or distracted.

The biggest danger for any business owner is the allure of the new shiny object. That new shiny object could be a new tool, a new marketing strategy, an affiliate offer, or a new revenue stream. The danger is that by pursuing the new shiny object, you get pulled off your path, off your timeline, away from your exit goals.

Instead, with your exit goals clearly set and your milestones keeping you on track, you are in a position to evaluate each new shiny object more objectively, as it relates to your priorities. By focusing on your goals with tenacity and almost tunnel vision, you can put those new shiny objects on the shelf, on a list, on the backburner, to consider only if they will accelerate your path to turn your business into the wealth-producing machine you deserve.

Stay Focused In Spite of Temptation

How do you do that?

  1. Before you set your task list for the day, review your long-term goal, your timeline to get there and the one-year goals you are actively working on.
  2. Identify your short-term goal priorities that are tied to your long-term goals and your exit.
  3. Build your daily tasks based on what must be done today and must be done by you to achieve those short-term goals.
  4. Finish tasks that lead to your exit goals first. Only then, and if time allows, can you consider those new shiny objects.

If you don’t focus on where you want to go with your business, and prioritize it daily; you can’t get the results that will deliver the outcome you desire.

Right Exit Goals Are Better Than SMART Goals

With your specific criteria in mind, the right exit goals are better than SMART Goals. The right exit goals for you and your business are:

Measurable
Every goal must be quantifiable. If you can’t measure it, it can’t be a goal.

Achievable
To maximize the value of the business to make it more appealing for buyers, you want to show numbers, forecasts and momentum. To help your sales team achieve new heights at the same time as you are taking a less active operational role, you can break down each goal into increments of the larger goal. Focus on achieving 10% of the new bigger goals. Then achieve it 10 times over. It’s easy to repeat what you’ve already done. The accumulation of these smaller goals will build momentum and confidence to surpass the original goal because all action is aligned with achieving the smaller goal.

Relevant
Use relevant numbers. In e-commerce for example, which will drive revenues more: your search engine rank or the click-throughs to the sales page? The answer depends on your business. Focus on what is relevant to your business. Relevance also ensures the exit goal is tied to your purpose and values from your criteria above. Be sure the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you use are meaningful to potential buyers, not just you.

‘Rathole-resistent’
This is the checks and balances piece. Make sure each of your exit goals enhances all the factors that will make your business/organization a viable option for buyers. If you have a goal of monetizing the revenue potential in a new target market as part of your exit price, but you can’t prove it will generate sales, that’s a rathole. Test each goal to be rathole-resistent before you commit to achieve it. It will make your exit smoother and your negotiations stronger.

When you validate that you have the right exit goals to get out on your terms and on your timeline, and each of those goals meets your goal setting criteria, you become unstoppable. Skip this step and you risk everything you have been working for. That loss is totally preventable.

Set Your Exit Strategy From the Beginning Part 2

Here are five more tips on goals to explore to be sure you achieve your ultimate goals when you exit your business.

Align Your Goals With Your Exit Strategy

Do you have goals now? Do you have:

  • Daily goals
  • Weekly goals
  • Monthly goals
  • Quarterly goals
  • Annual goals
  • 3 year goals
  • Exit goals

You need all of them if you want to achieve your exit goals. They must be aligned and integrated.

Here’s a secret no one talks about but they DO want you to know:

Consistency among all these goals is essential or

  • you will fail to exit
  • you will drastically reduce the value, AND
  • you will pay a premium for the service providers in the exit market.

And yet, all of this is 100% avoidable!

The answer is to not just set goals but to stay focused to achieve your goals.

Plan Ahead

You must know your exit date (or at least the criteria for it) and set it at least 2-3 years out – to have time to systematize, streamline and leverage your business to get the maximum valuation.

To get the results you want:

  • Your exit strategy must be part of your initial business plan
  • Your exit strategy must be part of your annual plans every year
  • Your exit strategy must be built into your 3 year goals from the outset

Identify Goals To Increase Value

What can you do to maximize the value in your business? To achieve your goal, you must:

  • Sell more
  • Increase prices
  • Reach new markets
  • Reduce costs
  • Hire/Train
  • Document your expertise

Is The Value Right Now In You Or Your Business?

Be honest, is the value of your business now in you or in the business? This is an uncomfortable wakeup call for most entrepreneurs. Are the expertise and the business strategy all in your head, and in your proprietary files? You have nothing to sell and you have no exit options if this is still true.

Instead, you can and should start to train others on different pieces, outsource different pieces, or start delegating more and more. The side benefit of delegating, outsourcing and automating is that you free up time to work on your most valuable activities including your exit strategy to achieve your goal.

“Business owners do not plan to fail. But 95% fail to plan. Don’t be one of them.” 

Integrate your exit strategy in every plan, every goal from the outset to ensure the value of the business is in the business.

 

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