Plan Your BusinessWhat good is knowing the destination if you don’t have a plan to get there? I enjoy going out into the backcountry and exploring trails, taking road trips to see National Parks

We recently consulted with a family-owned remodeling business in Orange County where the owners were a husband and wife team and the son was contemplating joining the business. He reached out to us in distress because he wants to help his parents, but they were unwilling to listen to his input and suggestions.

His parents wanted to retire in the next few years, but the business was a mess, proposals and quotes were handwritten and constantly misfiled, customer appointments were being missed because the calendar shorthand wasn’t standardized, and it took months to be paid on jobs because invoices were sent out incorrectly and lacking information.

Our guess was that they probably haven’t taken more than a long weekend away from the business.

He laughed and said “a long weekend! They can’t even take an afternoon off! If they aren’t there, nobody knows what to do or how to do it because they don’t know where any of the information is.”

His parents had a goal to retire and have him take over the business, but they were so busy working in the business (over 150 hours a week between the two of them) that they had no time to put a plan in place. They were not aware that trying to replace two full time owners in a business makes a business much more difficult to sell than if there is one owner. They were not aware that a buyer will not pay top dollar for a business if the records are a mess and there are no clear organizational systems in place. Yes, their situation is different because they want their son to take over, but are they handing over a business that he can even take over?

People often say that consistency is key, which is absolutely true. You need to show up and fight for your business every day to keep it moving forward and in this case, they have been in business for over 25 years! It only then becomes apparent that consistency is only half of the equation. If you are consistently just showing up and doing the work, the chances are that you are reacting to problems in the business rather than driving the business forward in the direction of your choosing.

As our conversation was coming to a close, we exchanged some ideas on how the business could improve, and he was able to walk away with some key points and ideas to pitch his parents about the business. The good news is that they have time to put a plan in place in order to execute their goal, but not everyone is so lucky. Hopefully, his parents are open to change and they can

Do you have an exit plan in place for your business? What are you consistently doing to reach your goal? When we take a business to market, the business that sell for the highest possible value is the one that planned and consistently executed their roadmap to retirement.