As I mentioned in a previous post, I learned a lot in 2006. One of the things I learned is that having an exit strategy for your business is a good thing. Ben Yoskovitz has a great post about this at startupspark.com:
To some an exit strategy sounds negative. Or, you might think you’ll never exit because that’s not the point of the business. That’s fine, you don’t have to give up the business (although eventually we all give it up) but thinking in terms of an exit strategy will help crystallize that goal nonetheless.
One thing I’d like to add to Ben’s post is that once you’ve spent the time and effort to come up with an exit strategy, you’ll find you feel much better about yourself and your business. Like Ben says, an exit strategy is a goal. Once you’ve defined it, you can stop worrying about it, and start working to achieve it.
Another benefit: having an exit strategy in mind will help you as you make business decisions along the way.
Looking back I’d say I learned a lot in the last year. I guess that’s not surprising, as the saying “you learn something new every day” is usually pretty accurate. With business plan competitions, conferences, and of course school, I had lots of opportunities to learn new things this year. Instead of making a big list of the things I learned however, I’m going to share with you just one lesson:
I learned that running a business requires balance.
Of course you have to balance the business with friends, family, etc. That’s not what I am talking about though. When you are starting a business, you wear a lot of different hats. Sometimes you wear the programmer hat, sometimes the accountant hat, and other times the salesman hat. What I learned this year is that you need to find a balance between all the different hats! It sounds like common sense, but when you’re in the middle of things, it doesn’t come naturally.
I don’t know why, but for the longest time I figured that if we got the code for Podcast Spot done, everything else would fall into place. I focused only on the programmer hat, and ignored the rest. VenturePrize was the turning point for me. Before the competition, I pretty much focused on the programmer hat. During the competition, I ignored the programmer hat altogether. And now, I am doing my best to find balance.
It was an important lesson for me to learn, that’s for sure. To see what other people learned this year, check out Ben Yoskovitz’s excellent group writing project.
Read: Instigator Blog