Determining Your Exit Strategy

Feel like you're lost on your way to nowhere? Here's why you must stop turning to others for answers and decide for yourself just where you should be going.

So many businesspeople I've met over the years were lost on their way to nowhere, unclear about where they were going and consumed by the business of their endless days. They were wishing business could be easier, that people would be more responsible, that something--anything--would change for the better, that work didn't have to be so hard, so boring, so tedious, so...well, you get my point.

So many businesspeople I've met over the years--tens of thousands of them, in fact--have been anything but happy. They've been hoping for an answer, a miraculous answer, to the puzzle called "doing business the way they were doing business," a miraculous answer to the unending question, "What's the secret?" and wishing someone would answer, "Here it is! Voila!" And then everything after that would be just fine, and everyone would live happily ever after.

And because what I just said is so true for so many--and always has been--there is no end to the number of magicians only too willing to provide you with the secret, with a flash of the lights, and a twist of the hand, and, Voila!, the secret unfolds before your very eyes, in its full, blooming, rich-rousing luster, with the fireworks exploding, and the noise clanging and clashing, and the wonderful promise of now-you-see-it, now-you-don't, how did he do that?

How indeed, my friend, how did he do that? And of course, you paid for it, that little trick of his. And of course, nothing changed whatsoever in your business. Your sales didn't go up, nor did your people get any better, nor did your customers clamor for more, more, more. Everything went right back to the way it was, and the way it will always be, as it always has, when the magicians come around.

If you've gotten this far with me, I need to tell you now there's no magic at the end of this little tome of mine. None. Zip. Not at all. I have never been a magician, never wanted to be. All I wanted to do from the time I was a little boy was to tell the truth, tell the truth as I see it to anyone who would listen. And the truth I wanted to share with you here, as one entrepreneur to hopefully another, is that there is no secret. Never has, never been and never will be. There's only the shift of your mind, the way you think, the way you look at yourself and everything you do with yourself in your business, and by shifting the way you think, something miraculous will happen. I can absolutely guarantee it.

And I won't have to do anything. You will, because if there is a secret to transforming your business--and you with it--it is only you who will find it. And you will find it inside your head, waiting there in the dark, hoping you wake up in time, hoping you let go of the hope that someone is going to solve everything for you, that the only hope you've got whatsoever is that you will wake up and stop doing what you do every day in your business: working for a living, making it, selling it, shipping it.

In short, all these folks working so hard in their own business have missed the point completely. And here's the point I believe they're missing: To get where you're going, you need to know where it is! Let me say that again: To get where you're going, you need to know where it is! And where it is is not where you are. Where it is is someplace you've decided it is. And what you've decided it is is what's called an "exit strategy," an exit strategy which states when you are done doing it in the business you own, your only true hope is that you can sell it! And to sell it, you need to know how to sell it, and to whom.

And if you'd like to know how to do that, tune in to my next column, next month.

See you then, and keep thinking between now and then: Sell it? Sell it? Sell it? How and to whom?

Michael Gerber is the "Leadership" coach at and is the author of the mega-bestseller, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It. He is also an entrepreneur himself, having spent the past three decades building his coaching company, E-Myth Worldwide, around the idea of empowering business owners to gain more freedom, more money, more time and more life.

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