Every Small Business Owner Needs an Exit Plan

Selling a small business is no easy task. In fact, over 80% of small business owners who try to sell their businesses fail to do so. This is a major problem. But there’s a solution: having an exit plan.

What is an Exit Plan?

An exit plan is a strategy for selling your business. It helps you prepare everything you need to sell your business successfully. Without a plan, selling your business can be very hard, and you may not get the best price. Here’s why having an exit plan is so important.

Business Valuation: Know Your Worth

The first step in an exit plan is getting a business valuation. This means finding out how much your business is worth. You need to know this so you can set a fair price. There are professionals who can help you with this. They look at things like your sales, profits, and the market to tell you how much your business should sell for.

ExitGude provides a market based valuation report

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Gather Necessary Information

When selling your business, you need to provide a lot of information to potential buyers. This includes:

  • Financial Statements: These show how much money your business makes and spends. They include profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Buyers want to see these to understand how your business is doing.
  • Business Operations: You need to show how your business runs. This includes things like your daily operations, staff roles, and management processes. Buyers want to know that the business can run smoothly without you.
  • Legal Documents: These include things like leases, contracts, and any other legal papers related to your business. Buyers need to know that everything is legal and in order.

ExitGuide provides a planning dashboard to track your progress

Present Your Business Well

How you present your business to potential buyers is crucial. You need to highlight the key details that make your business attractive. Here are some tips:

  • Show Your Strengths: Highlight what your business does well. This could be loyal customers, a good location, or strong sales.
  • Future Potential: Show how your business can grow. Buyers want to see that there are opportunities to make even more money in the future.
  • Be Honest: Be honest about any challenges your business faces. Buyers appreciate transparency and it helps build trust.

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Why Most Small Business Sales Fail

Many small business owners fail to sell their businesses because they are not prepared. Without a business valuation, they don’t know how much their business is worth. Without the necessary information, buyers can’t see the full picture of the business. And without a good presentation, buyers are not interested.

I see too many sellers unprepared for the process of selling their business. It often kills the deal or even prevents me from sending them an LOI. 

Yvetter Owo, owner YOLO Accounting & SMB Acquirer


Benefits of an Exit Plan

Having an exit plan can make a huge difference. Here’s how it can help:

  • Better Price: With a business valuation, you can set a fair price. This helps attract buyers and ensures you don’t sell for less than your business is worth.
  • Smoother Process: With all the necessary information ready, the selling process goes more smoothly. Buyers get the information they need quickly and can make a decision faster.
  • Higher Success Rate: When your business is well-presented and everything is in order, it is much more likely to sell. You increase your chances of success by being prepared.


Selling a small business is challenging, but having an exit plan can make it easier. By getting a business valuation, gathering necessary information, and presenting your business well, you can increase your chances of success.

Don’t be one of the 80% who fail. Start planning your exit today and ensure your hard work pays off.

Creating an exit plan may take some time and effort, but it’s worth it. It can mean the difference between a failed sale and a successful one. So, take the first step today and start planning your exit. Your future self will thank you.

Learn more about creating an exit plan