By David Lykken
Special to MPA
Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss mergers and acquisitions with Chuck Klein, a business partner of mine who specializes in guiding mortgage organizations through the M&A process. Through out discussion, I realized that -- though not every company may be intent on selling or buying -- there is one key component of mergers and acquisitions that everyone in the mortgage industry should be thinking about. That one thing is an exit strategy.
Many entrepreneurs, in our industry as well as outside of it, don't even think about devising an exit strategy. They're too focused on building their business to think about a time when they may need to dismantle it. Also, when we go out on our own, we're often too in love with our business to consider that we may someday not want to be a part of it anymore. Nobody, therefore, is going to accidentally develop an exit strategy. If you're going to creat an exit strategy, it has got to be deliberate.
So, why would you want to out of your way to create a strategy on getting out of your business when you're already preoccupied with the strategies on building your business? It's the same answer as can be given to many such questions: because there is no time like the present. If you don't think about right now how you may exit your business ten years from now, you may find yourself over-invested and trapped when that time comes. And there is no more devastating feeling than finding yourself a slave to your own baby.
Do yourself a favor and start thinking about your exit strategy now. It doesn't mean you have to actually go through with it. It just means that you'll be prepared if you have to. And, as you've probably heard before, fortune favors the prepared.