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Starting a Business? You Should Already Be Thinking About Your Exit Strategy. Here's Why. Planning for a profitable sale should start even before you open your company.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Right from the start, even before you've hung up your open sign, you should be looking ahead to the day you sell your company (for a nice big profit, of course). It's a fact you must face because you will have to exit someday. Everyone does. Will you control that exit or let fate control it?

The truth is that most owners do not sell according to a strategic plan. I certainly didn't.

When I sold my first company over a decade ago, I had no idea where to start. Fortunately, I was able to exit successfully and then buy my next venture — a business brokerage office. Over the past 10 years of helping entrepreneurs sell their companies, I've learned that most are not prepared. While hundreds of experts will teach you how to start and grow a business, very few will teach you how to sell one.

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