Entrances and Exits

Entrances & Exits: Plans for Survival

by Jim Cline

Many years ago, after watching a friend’s business fail, I realized his business had been doomed from the start. Since then, I have been involved in many successful businesses, urging my clients and employees into carefully planning and laying a solid foundation. A good business entrance strategy should lead to a predictable exit strategy.

From the day you dream of opening an indoor sports facility to the start-up phase, you need a comprehensive, written plan that explains where you are going and how you are going to get there.

When formulating a plan, seek assistance only from those who appreciate your long-term goals and file away any information that does not complement your strategy. I often see startups with no money, no land, no building, certainly no plan – yet they have hired an architect and have an office full of turf samples.

Without a plan, a series of tasks becomes worthless busy work. Many prospective operators spend years envisioning their dream facility, performing busy work without accomplishing anything. The trajectory you imagine for your business can only become a reality when an entrance strategy follows logic and necessity. In other words, an entrance strategy begins with item number one on a list of tasks that are necessary for the start of your business–the foundation for the blocks of your wall.

You cannot exit the business successfully if you don’t enter it carefully and make sure the exit strategy is possible throughout the lifecycle of the business.

Failure at the end of the life of a business can usually be traced back to haphazard planning. An exit strategy formalizes your career plans for transitions such as family business succession and retirement.

An exit strategy may also be requested by the bank or investors who may also want to know alternate uses for the building and the property if the business fails.

I have been involved in many sports business exits in recent years – some good and some disastrous. Most exits have been unintentional and poorly planned. Just as an exit strategy is essential, so is an entrance strategy. A living plan that changes and grows with your business will make transitions as smooth as possible.

This article is adapted from the Winter 2012 issue of GO Indoor. For more articles like this, visit USIndoor’s Members-Only Archives or learn more about membership.

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