The fact is - that you are going to exit your business for good one day.
You can choose how you do that:
Head high, because you have chosen the date and the next owners carefully;
Head low, because external circumstances have forced you to abandon ship;
In a box, because you slumped over your last patient.
Apologies for the stark last choice but I do see people working themselves into a frazzle and it worries me.
It was Michael Gerber who suggested that:
The purpose of a business is to solve someone's problem;
The objective of a business is to make a profit and
The destiny of a business is to be sold.
It can be difficult to think about that when you are younger and full of vim and vigour but I can confirm from personal experience that, as you get older, these matters take on more significance.
I facilitated a conversation with my clients on the subject of exit strategy a few week ago and drew up the infographic attached below to illustrate my point (you can download a copy at the end of this post).
There is a life cycle of ownership that depends upon the extent of your imagination:
Buy a practice and/or open a squat;
Maximise the productivity and profitability of the existing facility;
Expand the existing facility;
Build a self-managing team in the existing facility;
Buy more practices and/or open new squats.
From 2. onwards you can "stick" or "twist" - much like a game of Pontoon.
However, ultimately there has to be an exit strategy - the only options are a planned exit or an exit forced upon you.
Which would you prefer?
Don't bury your head in the sand - whoever you are, whatever age, wherever you are on the lifecycle (even pre-ownership) the time to start planning your exit is NOW.