Every business needs a business plan, and most of us recognize this need when starting a business.  But in planning and starting the business, we need to also include an exit strategy.

I’ve been coaching a team that is restructuring its current business model to facilitate changes in the way they reach out to people.  They are dividing their business into 2 separate corporations, so each can be more specialized.  The plan is to downsize their operations in areas that are not engaging locals to stimulate growth in other areas that are creating touch points with people.  Thus, the value of the original business may decrease, while generating monies and relationships via the new business.  As it so happens, one of the founders of the original business needed to resign earlier this year, and returned to the USA.  But now the team is left with the question of “how and what do we pay this co-owner and team member for his share of the initial investment?”

How? – The government will not allow business funds to be transferred out of the country for non-business purposes.  The government scrutinizes every international business transaction.  The co-owner has already left the country.  Paying back the initial loan is legal and no problem but the business has been valued to be worth nearly 40 times what the initial investors put into it.

What? – In addition, this departed team member wishes to withdraw his investment in cash, creating a cash flow problem.  Surely she has this right, but when they first drew up the plan to change their business 2 years ago, there was a gentleman’s agreement that they each would invest their shares in bootstrapping the new business.  Now the circumstances of this one owner have changed.  The potential for conflict is there.

The result has been much time and thinking, discussing things which should have been dealt with in the beginning.  As you are starting out, or even if you’re already operating a B4T company, write up an exit strategy in order to make your exit transition smooth, and save yourself a wealth of future head aches.

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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