Do you have an Exit Plan for your freelance business? Do you know what an Exit Plan is? An Exit Plan is simply your long-term goal, i.e. your ultimate aim for being self-employed. Where are you taking your business? What will it ultimately provide you with? Having a clear long-term goal, and a clear understanding of what motivates you to get there, will give you the drive to keep going when things get tough. In this post, I will ask you a series of targeted coaching questions to help you develop your Exit Plan.
Exit Planning is the first step in a process known in business coaching as “Strategic Planning”. It comes before the Business Plan — which I will discuss in a future post — and sets the direction for the business.
The Exit Plan describes what will happen when you separate yourself permanently from your business. Your aim may be, for example, to set up a company with a view to selling it as an investment, to pass it on to someone else, or to work as a sole trader until you retire. If you’re a sole trader, your business may represent a lifestyle choice for you rather than an investment. It may enable you to manage several income streams, to have flexible working hours that suit your family or other commitments, or to have a portfolio career. If this is the case, you may wish to call your plan a Journey Plan rather than an Exit Plan.
The following questions will help you think about your Exit/Journey Plan:
What do you love most about your business?
What does running your own business allow you to do?
What does it provide you with?
What do your family and friends say about you running your own business?
How long do you intend to run your business for?
What could make you want to stop running your own business?
When do you want to retire?
How much money do you want/need to make?
If you have a company, what must it be worth before you can consider selling/closing it?
When do you want to start reducing your hours/days? How will you do it?
What (financial) plans do you already have in place? What (financial) plans do you need to put in place?
What will your business look like when you decide it’s time to separate yourself from it? (Size, location, people, etc.)
What will people be saying about your business?
Take a moment to write down your Exit/Journey Plan.
Now that you know what you want to achieve with your business, it’s time to break it down into small, manageable steps. To help you with this, I have recorded a basic coaching session to help you create an action plan for the next couple of weeks. To download this FREE mp3 file, simply click here.
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Photo by Dmitri Popov
This post was adapted from a post I published in Coaching For Translators.