Exit planning is an intricate dance, and like all dances, it has its rhythm, flow, and stages. The Value Acceleration Methodology takes a business owner on a transformative journey through the Discover, Prepare, and Decide gates. While all these stages play their unique roles, the 'Prepare Gate' is arguably where the rubber meets the road. Let’s dive deep into understanding the nuances of this pivotal gate.
What is the Prepare Gate?
If Discover is about setting the vision, Prepare is about execution. Think of it as the bridge between realizing where you currently stand (Discover) and making the final decisions for your business’s future (Decide). In the Prepare phase, business owners begin executing action items crafted in the Discover phase, leading to value growth in their businesses.
The Emphasis on 90-day Incremental Deliverables
Christopher Snider, in his book "Walking to Destiny," has emphasized the need for moderation during the Prepare Gate. Instead of overwhelming the team or oneself with the enormity of the tasks ahead, it’s about breaking them down into 90-day incremental deliverables. Why 90 days? A quarter is long enough to achieve meaningful progress but short enough to maintain momentum and adaptability. It's a timeframe that allows business owners and their teams to set realistic, tangible goals, assess progress, and pivot if necessary.
Strengthening Business Values & Mitigating Risks
A central tenet of the Prepare Gate is value enhancement. Business owners collaborate with advisors to strengthen the business values, working diligently to establish and validate that value-building systems are set firmly in place. This isn’t just about boosting the business’s monetary value; it’s about fortifying its foundations, making it resilient and sustainable.
Mitigating risks is equally vital. The Prepare Gate provides a window of opportunity for owners to delve deep into their business, uncovering potential risks and setting strategies to combat them. Addressing these risks isn’t just about avoiding potential pitfalls; it’s about amplifying the business's inherent value. After all, a business with minimized risks is far more attractive to potential buyers or successors.
The Real-world Implications
Let's ground this discussion in a real-world scenario. Imagine an IT firm that recognizes, during the Discover phase, that they overly rely on a couple of key clients for the majority of their revenue. In the Prepare Gate, they would work on diversifying their client base, reducing their dependency on any one client. This diversification doesn’t only spread the revenue sources; it significantly reduces the risk of a financial crunch if any single client decides to part ways.
Continuous Improvement is the Name of the Game
It's essential to understand that the Prepare Gate isn't a one-time event. It's a continuous process of improvement, re-evaluation, and growth. It's about fostering a culture where the entire team is on board, seeking ways to enhance value, and reduce vulnerabilities.
This continuous quest for improvement leads to revelations. As Justin Goodbread highlighted, each time one goes through the Value Acceleration Methodology, it unveils new areas of enhancement. It could be about updating a business plan to reflect the latest financial projections or aligning teams for more cohesive functionality.
Preparing for Tomorrow, Today
Why is all this preparation crucial? Because the future is unpredictable. And in the world of business, unpredictability can be costly. The Prepare Gate equips businesses with the tools, strategies, and mindset to navigate the uncertainties of tomorrow.
Julie Keyes’ insights on risk assessment provide a brilliant perspective. By examining the potential impact of unforeseen circumstances (like the Five Ds: divorce, disagreement, disability, death, and distress), businesses can preemptively devise strategies. This kind of forward-thinking ensures that when challenges arise, the business isn't caught off guard but is well-prepared to face them.
The Prepare Gate, with its emphasis on execution, risk mitigation, and continuous improvement, is the heart of the Value Acceleration Methodology. It's where businesses transform insights into actions, and visions into realities.
For business owners pondering their exit strategies, the importance of the Prepare Gate cannot be overstated. It's the stage that ensures your business isn’t just successful in the present but is primed for future success, with or without you. And in that lies its immense value.