Bo Burlingham’s Finish Big: How Great Entrepreneurs Exit Their Companies on Top is a “first pile” priority for all business owners.
I have observed thousands of entrepreneurs over the last 25 years, hundreds on a personal level. The vast majority have put little to no effort in planning for life after their company, after all, why think about the future, the great ones truly love what they are doing and the people they interact with everyday. Most great entrepreneurs are plowing all of their time and energy into building their business.
The truth is, everyone will someday exit his or her business, so you might as well plan for it. It is one thing you CAN count on. Finish Big makes you think about what you really want from your business and how to get there. Do you have something better to do with your time? Should you raise capital? Do you want your employees or family to own the company? Bo explains the pros and cons. I enjoyed the book so much; I read it twice. As Bo describes the four phases of an exit and the characteristics of a good exit, I could picture many of my friends who have walked through these stages. Some successfully, but many more reaching financial security while losing their personal sense of purpose. One thing is for sure, the longer the planning process, the happier the exit.
In summary, regardless of your plan for the future, this book is must read for all entrepreneurs. As an investor in growing businesses, I sure want all of my partners to have thought through what exiting on top looks like for them … and beyond.
What will be your next purpose?
P.S. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Bo about Finish Big as a guest on our radio show, The Second Stage. You can catch our discussion here.