Business Exit Strategy

Definition of 'Business Exit Strategy'


An entrepreneur’s strategic plan to sell his or her investment in a company he or she founded. An exit strategy gives a business owner a way to reduce or eliminate his or her stake in the business and, if the business is successful, make a substantial profit. If the business is not successful, an exit strategy enables the entrepreneur to limit losses.

Investopedia explains 'Business Exit Strategy'


Ideally, an entrepreneur will develop an exit strategy in the business plan, before actually going into business, because the choice of exit plan can influence business development choices. Common types of exit strategies include initial public offerings, strategic acquisitions and management buyouts. Which exit strategy an entrepreneur chooses depends on factors such as how much control or involvement (if any) he or she wants to retain in the business, and whether the entrepreneur wants the company to continue to run in the same way or is willing to see it change going forward as long as he or she receives a fair price for his or her share of ownership. A strategic acquisition, for example, will relieve the founder of his or her ownership responsibilities, but will also mean giving up control.

Different exit strategies also offer business owners different levels of liquidity. Selling ownership through a strategic acquisition, for example, can offer the greatest amount of liquidity in the shortest time frame, depending on how the acquisition is structured. The appeal of a given exit strategy will depend on market conditions, as well; for example, an IPO may not be the best exit strategy during a recession.

The best type of exit strategy also depends on business type and size. A partner in a medical office’s best exit strategy might be to sell to one of the other existing partners, while a sole proprietor’s ideal exit strategy might simply be to make as much money as possible, then close down the business. If the company has multiple founders, or if there are substantial shareholders in addition to the founders, these other parties’ interests must be factored into the choice of exit strategy as well.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Passive ETF

    One of two types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available for investors. Passive ETFs are index funds that track a specific benchmark, such as a SPDR. Unlike actively managed ETFs, passive ETFs are not managed by a fund manager on a daily basis.
  2. Walras' Law

    An economics law that suggests that the existence of excess supply in one market must be matched by excess demand in another market so that it balances out. So when examining a specific market, if all other markets are in equilibrium, Walras' Law asserts that the examined market is also in equilibrium.
  3. Market Segmentation

    A marketing term referring to the aggregating of prospective buyers into groups (segments) that have common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. Market segmentation enables companies to target different categories of consumers who perceive the full value of certain products and services differently from one another.
  4. Effective Annual Interest Rate

    An investment's annual rate of interest when compounding occurs more often than once a year. Calculated as the following:
  5. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option is purchased and the lower premium option is sold - both at the same time. The higher the debit spread, the greater the initial cash outflow the investor will incur on the transaction.
  6. Odious Debt

    Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated.
Trading Center