What Do You Want Your Business Legacy to Look Like?

You spent the majority of your life and career-building the company you now want to exit. It’s natural to want to retire and leave at some point. But what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when you exit the company?

Even if you have not already thought about your legacy, it’s not too late to do so while planning your business exit.

Top Tips to Develop Your Business Legacy

During your exit planning process:

  • Identify what matters to you in business and life
  • Leave the industry a better place–give out things that matter
  • How do you want to be remembered post-exit?

Identify What Matters to You in Business and Life

To identify what matters to you both in business and life; start by asking self-examining questions. Be honest with your answers. They do not have to sound aspirational because, frankly, not everyone has or even desires to lead a legendary life.

First, does it matter that you leave a legacy? If so, think about making a positive impact on the lives of people around you and occupying a special place in their memories and lives.

What drives you both in business and life? What are your values? How do you want people to remember you? Make sure to include those values in your exit plan.

What one thing would you do to improve your world? How can you increase the well-being of people dependent on you? How can you leave your mark on whatever you do?

The answers to these questions will help you clarify how you want to live your life and what matters to you.

You may try to touch lives around you, and support the people and causes that matter to you. Or you may want to inspire others, and influence them through your leadership for your legacy to live on.

Passions arising from your ideas and interests bring fun and fulfillment in life. They are your legacy, and they are contagious. They help you see your destiny.

Find and pursue your passions to enrich your life and that of your loved ones. Make sure to include the finances needed to pursue your passions post-retirement in your exit goals.

Leave the Industry a Better Place

The things you completed in your career may not have been the most amazing in the world, but they could mean something extraordinary to someone or something. Perhaps it’s as simple as your business helping make clients’ lives easier.

You may want your clients to remember you for your excellent products and services, the value those products and services add to their lives, and the incredible experiences they provide.

You may also consider leaving your leadership legacy. Think about the leaders you admire and why you admire them. Integrate those qualities in your routine life.

Pass on your knowledge in business, your technical skills, and your leadership philosophy. Lead by example and allow your people to observe and learn from you. Mentor them.

The exit planning stage is the right time to develop the leadership pipeline in your company. You can share valuable lessons on creating lifelong customers, balancing profits and ethics, social responsibility, and doing well with your successors.

Also, you could further your business vision, mission, and values with your employees, especially the management team. For instance, if other people helped you succeed in business, you could help young entrepreneurs make their marks. It’s always fulfilling to share one’s blessings.

You could also become a mentor and share your hard-won wisdom. Many young professionals will forever acknowledge your contribution on that front. You might influence an entire generation to follow your path of passing on knowledge.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered After Your Business Exit?

This can be a difficult question to answer. Think: Why did I start my business? What problem was I trying to solve?

Evaluate your business journey. Did it go as planned? What roadblocks did you encounter? Did you overcome them or change direction in the journey? What lessons did you learn?

Even if you did not achieve something notable, your efforts might still inspire someone to pick up that dream, carry it forward, and develop something meaningful from you already built.

Remember why you started your business and did what you did. Focus on your vision and values to build a business legacy you will be proud to leave behind.

Legacy does not refer to a once-in-a-lifetime deal or achieving business feats. It’s about making a mark or a lasting positive impact on someone or something. So, your business ethics, values, principles, style, and wisdom live on with your successors, clients, and beyond, even after your exit.

Determine what you want to be known for and make an effort to be that.

Complete Exit Planning with Your Business Legacy Document

You must plan the future from the start, have a succession plan, set your business to run independently without you, inform your successors early about your vision and values, and let your business live on to the benefit of your successors.

Planning your legacy and writing a legacy document gives purpose and determination to your life when developing your exit plan. It helps you identify your exit goals better and inspires you to follow them with more enthusiasm. Defining the mark you want to leave behind or what you want your business/life journey to mean will renew your energy and focus

So, what does your business legacy look like?

Dan is the Founder of Quantive and Value Scout. He has two decades of experience in leading M&A transactions. Additionally oversees Quantive's valuation practice and has performed thousands of business valuations.



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