When your business can operate successfully without your (owner) daily involvement, the business becomes valuable to you as it provides you with freedom and equally to potential buyers of the business since the business’s success is not predominantly dependent upon your involvement, actions and efforts.

So what do you need to focus on to get to this autonomous state and build a business of value without your involvement? The answer to that question is unique to each business but there are certain standard “value drivers” which will have to be identified and then focused on as these will differ from business to business and from owner to owner.

The value drivers are areas in the business where you as the business owner spend your time on. We need to identify these and we need to focus on closing the gap from where your involvement is today to what your involvement will be after your successful exit. A list must be created that highlights the areas of critical importance and concern to the business owner should he / she exit.

The goal is to reduce the risk associated with owning and almost single-handedly managing your business and thereby inherently reducing the value of your business. There are systems and processes that need to be put in place to drive business value and establish autonomy even once you exit.

Business independence planning is the process of identifying value drivers and then putting a plan in place to build business value through focusing on systems and processes compensating for those value drivers that will in turn increase the value of your business.

The most successful business owners are able to build strong, stable, continuous and independent businesses that operate profitably and successfully even in the absence of the business owner.

An exit plan also means different things to different business owners, it has to be discussed and documented. The exit for some may be a transfer of ownership to their children or a sale of the business to other owners / employees or a sale to a third party or even a voluntary liquidation.

Exit planning is all about leaving your company when you want, to whom you want and for the price that you want.