Stephen Crawford Business Exit Strategy Coach OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual nonbinary

An Exit Strategy is a MUST have to Grow Your Business

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Stephen Crawford a Business Coach who focuses on the end game.  

Stephen Crawford throughout his career has been a teacher and/or coach in some manner. For the bulk of his career, he was a vocal coach helping his clients and students be pitch-perfect while performing and guiding their careers. He has owned two successful vocal studios and has clients who have gone on to reach prestigious positions.  

01:10 Stephen’s background in music and vocal coaching

07:00 How vocal coaching relates to business coaching/consulting

09:50 It’s all about mindset

10:50 Stephen provides an overview of how he works with small business owners

12:30 Stephen shares examples of what business owners have lost by not having an exit strategy when unexpected emergencies force them to close their business

15:00 Exit strategy for business growth

17:30 Document your processes – even if you are a baker, document recipes so all things are repeatable by others

19:00 Stephen shares information about the methods and their profit accelerator business survey that covers 40 areas of a business

22:50 Stephen provides a prioritized approach so that business owners can incrementally work on what is the most important and growth-oriented

25:30 In the past you may have hired a coach and didn’t get the actionable results desired. Stephen’s tools provide actionable prioritized reports and guidance.

29:00 Stephen assists professionals with their webinars, presentation, and public speaking game. We further discuss how business owners should leverage video and audio to promote their knowledge, products, and services in an informational way.

Stephen focuses on the end game of what the client is wanting to achieve and then works systematically with them to help them shift their mindset to remove the stumbling blocks that are holding them back. Stephen has taken his past and realized his skills, knowledge, passion, and expertise can help small businesses. He launched Infinite Symmetry Business Strategies as an independent small business consulting agency under a national Business Services company that provides a researched methodology to structure his consulting practice with tools and resources.    

One of those tools is a comprehensive business survey that helps Stephen and the business owner uncover underdeveloped or missing core business structures, processes, marketing channels, and key business documents. There are over 40 areas of insights in this survey and its personalized report. From completing it, along with the businesses owners’ stated goals, Stephen can then make prioritized recommendations.   

In our conversation, Stephen provided an example of how a business owner due to a family unexpected health issue had to sell her business. She was not prepared and basically had to walk away from all her years of working to build and sustain it. Had she previously worked with Stephen, gotten prepared with the legal documents, documented business processes, a growth plan, a solid marketing plan, insurances, clear accounting, and an exit strategy, she would have been in a much better place financially and emotionally.  

Having a business exit strategy is not just a single document. Think of it as an athlete whose goal is to compete in the Olympics.  Writing on a piece of paper, “I want to compete in the Olympics” is great. But it won’t get you there. An effective business exit strategy relies on all the areas of the business to be strong, documented thoroughly, and in place right now.  Waiting until you need or want to exit is likely too late.

Do you think you are leaving your business to your child/ren?  Have they worked in the business long enough to know how it fully operates? A great exercise would be to have them assist in the forming of the exit strategy. As they assist in process documentation and all the other aspects they’ll gain a fuller knowledge and understanding along with being able to contribute to some of the decision makings.  Having an exit strategy also prepares a business to raise capital from investors or secure a good business loan.  

You owe it to yourself to have your business as strong and ready as it can be.  Reach out to Stephen today to set up an initial conversation.  

To connect with Stephen you can find him on OutBüro here.  Join us on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online networking community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices.  

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.

OutBuro Voices Podcast Be a Guest - LGBT Entrpreneurs GLBT Professionals Gay Business Owners Lesbian Leaders Queer Startups LGBTQ community

9 Business Exit Strategy Tips for LGBT Entrepreneurs

You are an LGBT entrepreneur and working hard to build your business.  Eventually, you’ll leave your business someday, so how do you make sure it’s on the best possible terms? We asked business advisors and brokers on how to prepare a sound exit strategy. Here’s their advice.

Every LGBT Entrepreneur needs one.  So, what is a business exit strategy?

An exit strategy is a plan for winding down the involvement you contribute in your GBLT owned business. For many entrepreneurs, that means getting the business ready for a sale and thus a change of ownership. Preparing, documenting and following a well-thought-out exit strategy can improve your company value, while providing the company you worked so hard to build has the best chance to thrive after you are no longer directly involved.

No matter if you plan to leave your business in two, six, or twelve years, planning on an exit is a smart idea that helps you in your business strategy. Getting a business ready for a sale and new owner can take a considerable about on time depending on the complexity of the business it could take years.

Having a business exit strategy in place will assist in the process. It also provides a bit of freedom in that if you’re ready to sell, you may do it at any time. That provides you options and peace of mind.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.


How to plan an exit strategy for your LGBT owned business

Business experts advise following these nine steps to building your business succession plan.

1. Plan for your most likely buyer
Be sure to have a business plan to guide your company direction and growth.  The type of most likely buyer will greatly be dependent on the type of business you own and if you intend to sell to another company or perhaps to pass it to a family member.

  • Family / Close Friends: If you’re selling to family, take extra precautions to make everything transparent and fair. You don’t want the business transaction to cause tension or conflict between family or close friends.
  • Current staff: You might find that a current employee would like to buy the company.  This could be a great idea for the continuity of running the business.  However it is not often an employee who will not have the funds available to pay in a lump sum, so be prepared for staggered payments.
  • Highest bidder: Gaining the highest sale amount can be a reward for all your hard work.  However, it does require the most effort during the sale process and transition to the new owners.  All the business records will need to be in order else they won’t have any idea how you operate or the value of the company.

2. How quickly would you like to plan your exit 
Not all buyers are equal.  Some buyers, such as friends, family, or staff, may not have the funds to fully pay right away.   Can you live with receiving a deposit and being paid the rest from future business income?   To guarantee the continued success of the business and thus your payment you might need to remain involved in the business to a degree and diminish that and your level of ownership as your payments progress successfully. If a complete break is what you want, then, selling the business to the highest offer is likely your best path if your transition is well laid out and the purchasing party can assume your business without major disruption to operations and clients.  If there is a risk of disruption, you might be contracted as part of the sale to remain involved for a period of time to ensure clients remain/customers happy.

3. Get and keep your financial records in shape 
Smart buyers will ask to see at least two years’ worth of clean and dependable financial records.  Are you maximizing your cash flow?  If your bookkeeping isn’t all it could be, get it fixed now. And if there’s something you can do to improve profitability, do it as soon as possible. You want that upswing to show in your accounts as a sustainable trend rather than as a recent spike.

4. Make yourself expendable 
It may sound odd that you’d want to make yourself expendable, unimportant, and replaceable in your own company when you have the right team of employees.   However, why would someone else or another company purchase your business if it’s future continued success rest squarely and solely on your shoulders?  Nope.  Won’t happen.  So you must get to the point of leading your company and allow your team to do their jobs with the training and authority to succeed.  This will also mean being less involved with the clients and customers.  You may even – GASP – need to force yourself to take more time away from the office and delegate decision making.

5. Get lean and document EVERYTHING
Review everything you, your company, and your employees, contractors, and service providers do.  Document the business process by job function.  How do things get done?  Who does it?  What is the prerequisite to each step and what’s the next step?  Have job descriptions in place for roles remembering that a person might be filling multiple functional roles.  Search the internet for job description templates – why reinvent the wheel.  It might give your insight and make you consider things not thought of on your own.  Review dependencies such as any vendors that provide services, finished or raw products documenting what each does and provides, why, and how it contributes to the operations.  Also, document all the technology that supports your business functions.  Document how you market your business, the social media channels, and any promotional events or organizations the business participates in.  Review all legal documents be it with landlords, suppliers, partners, vendors, and employees.  If you have employees, be sure to have written human resource policies in place.  Doing an internet search can provide loads of HR policies ready for your business to leverage.

6. Leverage technology
Today there’s an app for almost anything.  While reviewing the company processes above consider what online software solutions you can leverage to get and remain organized.

Such as:

  • Employee time tracking
  • Client billing
  • Mileage tracking
  • Financial accounting
  • Sales funnel tracking
  • Customer relationship management
  • Client invoicing / payment
  • Appointment booking
  • Survey taking
  • Email marketing
  • Lunch delivery
  • Social media simplifying
  • and so much more depending on your needs… yes, likely there’s an app for it

Before launching into each, try doing a broad search for solutions that work well together.  If needed, there are online application integration solutions.

7. Continue to build and grow increasing your business value
Getting ready for an exit is no time to coast along.  You need to be working hard to attract new customers, retain and extend contracts with existing clients.  Keep the marketing momentum and even increase marketing if needed.

Why is your LGBT owned business great? Is your product or service superior to others?  Do you have really loyal customers? Is there any intellectual property you created?

Now also look at your weaknesses and step up to address them as best you can.  Get outside opinions when you can for an objective view.  someone who does.

8. Get a guideline valuation
You won’t know what you’ll get for your business until the day it’s sold, but you can get a rough estimate. Ask for a professional opinion. Your accountant should be able to introduce you to someone, or you could speak to a local business broker. A guideline valuation will help satisfy your curiosity and set realistic expectations. If they predict a lower price than you’d hoped, you might delay your exit, and spend some time building value in the business.

9. Work on a sales pitch
Buyers need to be excited by your business, so come up with an elevator pitch that captures the essentials. Craft a story that explains why you got started, how you’ve grown, and what you’ve achieved. Paint a positive picture of the future, too, but keep it real. Incorporate stats and facts to support what you’re saying.

Exits happen

Exiting your business is inevitable. It will happen whether you’re in control of it or not. So make a plan now and start getting your business ready for the next owner. It’ll help you command a better price, and increase the chance that your business survives.

And remember that anything you do to benefit your future buyer will also benefit you. You’ll have a more efficient, profitable, and easier to manage the business.

It’s never too soon to build a business exit strategy.

OutBuro where you belong lgbtq entrprenuers out gay business owers lesbian startups queer professionals employer ratings customer reviews bisexual transgender equality community 1