Planning an Exit Strategy from Your Company

“Most entrepreneurs over time should start to think about a future exit strategy because preparing for an exit takes some time.”

–  C.J. Fitzgerald, managing director of Summit Partners

There may come a time and place where exiting your company feels like the best move you can make for yourself and/or your company. Whether it’s due to strategic reasons, a change in environment, or simply a desire for new ventures, having a sound exit strategy can be paramount in maximizing you and your business’s future opportunities. Even if it may seem early, it is still necessary to plan some sort of exit strategy. Like any good business move, preparation is vital, and the more thorough you understand your options, the better equipped you and your business will be when the time comes.

As many know, strategy is vital in all areas of business. So, what are the strategies available for those planning an exit from their company? First, it’s necessary to clearly define your objectives in leaving your company. Do you still wish to maintain some element of control? Is this move purely to maximize profits? How do you wish to better the future of the company? These are the sorts of questions you should be asking yourself as you determine which exit strategy is best for your interests.

Once you understand your desired involvement, you can begin to go through the different methods of exiting. If the desire is for a more long-term plan then your options might include letting it run dry, selling your shares, or simple liquidation. If the desire is something more short term then your options might include going public, selling, or merging with another company. All options depend on the state of your business at the time of planning, so having an understanding what each entail, is essential.

Creating an exit strategy should be given time and taken seriously. This might include creating an independent board or taking your own time away to develop a clear strategy. There is a myriad of options that extend even further than the ones already listed. At the end of the day, the more time and effort put into this process, the more fit you will be to start your next venture.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Improve Your Networking Ability

“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.”

– Diane Helbig, Author

Whether it’s a specialized conference or just a general work occasion, it is well known the paramount importance of networking in business and other ventures. Establishing strong connections with both people new to you and with those which you already have a familiarity, can provide endless opportunity in the long run. But for some, knowing how to make that first contact and establish meaningful conversation can be difficult. Luckily, there are few tips to help improve networking skills.

First, don’t always seem overeager. Yes, it’s important to have energy and charisma, but many people find it really off putting to be hounded by questions so quickly. Take your time and establish conversation rather than acting in a transactional fashion. One way to avoid this appearance of over-eagerness, is to simply listen. In many networking scenarios you are not necessarily talking in a one on one situation, so if you join a conversation, take the time to listen before interjecting yourself into the spotlight.

While you don’t want to seem artificial, it’s always good to have a niche interest or anecdote at your disposal. Many of these interactions can go stale or have an awkward air about them. Having an effective anecdote often times allows people to get to know you better and feel more comfortable in conversation. Along the same lines, having a specialization or interest about yourself that you are willing to talk about gives something for others to latch onto in conversation and engage with you more thoroughly.

Aside from listening and being present in a conversation, when it is your turn to speak, make sure to express honest interest in the other person. One effective way to achieve this is to show curiosity in their areas or interest. Rather than relate to what they’re saying by talking about yourself, attempt to ask questions that show genuine interest in what they have to say.

Many of these strategies seem simple or obvious mostly because, well, they are. Effective networking is really about being present and honest in your interactions. It can be beneficial in this regard to treat networking like making new friends. Understanding, in this regard, how to best present yourself as authentic as possible will be the deciding factor in the kinds of relationships and opportunities that lie ahead.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Virtual Reality in Business

“At its very core, virtual reality is about being freed from the limitations of actual reality.”

– John Carmack, CTO of Oculus VR

Often times, innovation comes from places we least expect, and even when innovations sparks from predictable areas, the application of such innovations can go beyond our initial expectations. Virtual Reality (more commonly referred to as VR) has been around for decades, being developed in military, entertainment, and scientific fields, among others. More recently however, VR has begun to insert itself more in the mainstream with companies like Google and Facebook investing tens of millions of dollars in the new tech. Most of the public currently considers VR most prominent in the entertainment field with millions of units being used for video gaming and similar tech. But with the increasing popularity and technical capabilities of VR, non-entertainment businesses have begun to utilize the tech.

With immersion being a key factor in virtual reality, business minded innovators seek to employ this heightened immersion in ways that transcend typical forms of communication. Some see VR as a useful tool for marketing, providing the customer or coworker with a 360-degree view of an environment. Understanding this, businesses that deal in property, architecture, and similar fields have begun utilizing VR to display and market physical spaces in a more immersive and interactive ways. Most, including businesses unrelated to these fields, see marketing with VR as a way to eliminate outside distractions and keep the customer more actively engaged.

Others see VR as a potential upgrade to training and recruitment. Along the same lines of the marketing uses of VR, these innovators believe employee training in such fashion increases engagement and overall effectiveness. As opposed to PowerPoint or video conferencing, VR as a training tool would potentially allow the trainee a more interactive “feel” for the material they are trying to learn, as well as decrease distractions. Training in this fashion would be a more hands-on experience and better prepare future employees for the reality of their future work.

At its current state, the potential of VR for businesses seems endless. There may be a day soon, if not already, where certain businesses operate exclusively through VR, providing customers with a virtual storefront that can be entered remotely, among other things. Though the current high prices and competing technology may limit this as a permanent place in the mainstream, there is no telling what innovations in immersion may come next in the field of business and virtual reality.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

The Importance of Showing Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

– John F Kennedy

As we enter the holiday season the thought of thankfulness and gratitude lingers in many people’s mind. And even during the rest of the year, most people are aware of the importance and positive impact gratitude can have on the individual. But aside from Thanksgiving, most people don’t sit around a table and remind each other what they are thankful for. Knowing how and how often to express gratitude goes a long way in both business and life.

Customer feedback has been proven to increase learning, motivation, and performance, among other things. But a large part about feedback is expressing genuine gratitude to both your customers and employees. This does not necessarily mean thanking them after they do a service for you, though that is important as well. Expressing gratitude for other things besides end result is essential in establishing real trust and appreciation. A lot more goes into feedback and other services, so it is imperative to show you are aware of the entire labor process.

Merely making an attempt at gratitude is important, but there are a few different things you can do to ensure your gratitude comes across as sincere as possible. Sometimes keeping it simple can be your best option, so simply giving a concise compliment, especially if it’s at an unexpected time, can go a long way. Other times, actions are better than words. Consider including your customers or employees in your future plans or ask how you can help them in the future. Doing this not only shows your understanding of their value but also allows them to feel more connected and included.

The bottom line is that in order to show sufficient gratitude, communication is key. Your gratitude does not mean as much if you keep it to yourself. Even if it might feel awkward, it’s necessary to let the other person know of your graciousness for their output, whether that be through actions or words. Being on the same page with those around you only ensures better success and a positive working relationship in the future.

Kelly D. Scott
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization