The end: An entrepreneur’s guide on how to get there

The Doors

Over the past year, CPA Jay Lesemann has written about what it takes to own your own business. He reviewed what it takes to go from an idea for a business to formalizing and legalizing your business to the administration of your business. There is one part left: The end.

Dec. 28. By Jay Lesemann. For those of old enough to remember, “The End” was a controversial song by a group called The Doors. Jim Morrison was lead singer.

The fact that I’m having to explain who they even were makes me feel very old.

The opening verses remind me of the feelings an entrepreneur goes through when he/she/they dispose of a business. Others that are much smarter than I have spent years dissecting the lyrics of this song, so I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend

The end
Of our elaborate plans
The end
Of everything that stands
The end
No safety or surprise
The end
I’ll never look into your eyes

My point, however, is planning and preparing for the end is key for any business but especially an entrepreneur’s business.

How did you get here?

Entrepreneurs are usually high energy, high emotion and wear their feelings on their sleeve. They put everything into their business. They often forgo other relationships because their biz is their baby. Thinking about what happens when it’s over is not something many want to do.

Why is this? Entrepreneurs planned for everything else, so why not the end? As an entrepreneur, we have managed and grown businesses that are:

—Respected in the community
—Added revenue and jobs to the community
—Provided disposable income for you and your family
—Paid for the education of others

But more than anything else:

Your business has survived.

What’s the fear?

Why not plan to have someone takeover the business so that you can step back and see the beauty of your creation? Here’s the fear in one sentence:

The perceived value by others will not be your perceived value.

The first time someone tells you what they think it’s worth and what they will pay for your baby, you feel

Then the entrepreneur gets

After an entrepreneur realizes that their biz isn’t worth what they thought it’d be, they become

And finally, the entrepreneur comes to terms with the real value and reaches

Family matters

The bottom line is that a succession plan is necessary for your business to complete the cycle. More so than that, your family deserves it. This is very important, so I’ll repeat this last phrase: Your family deserves it.

The plan

When we talk with entrepreneurs that are starting a business, we ask the following questions:

What are you selling?
Why should I buy it?
How do you fund it?
What does the end look like?

It depends on your exit strategy

Believe it or not, knowing the end will guide you from the beginning. If your exit strategy is short-term, then pump up the volume. If your exit strategy is long-term, then build a quality process that is tried and true. If your exit strategy is to pass it on to your employees, find the good ones and do whatever is necessary to keep them.

Regardless, knowing the end will not only help you from the start, but it’ll also take a heavy weight off of your shoulders. If you are an entrepreneur, you are already nodding your head because you know what I’m talking about.

Jay Lesemann, the founder and managing member of Lesemann CPAs in Huntersville, is past chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs board of directors as well as the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.


One Response to “The end: An entrepreneur’s guide on how to get there”

  1. Having advised business owners for almost 35 years (yes, I know the Doors!) and built and sold my own law firm, I totally agree with Jay! A business succession plan is super important. It is sad to watch someone build a successful business, but have no plan to for it to continue after his or her death or retirement. It is also important to find a successor before you are ready to retire, so that you have time to help successfully transition the business to the new owner.

    Posted by Catherine Bentz | December 29, 2020, 11:19 am

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