The most overlooked part of your business – and how to fix it

Today I invite you to give some thought to one of the most overlooked and important parts of running your business. That is your plan for making an eventual exit so you can harvest the value you’ve created – and go on to whatever is next for you.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend any time on this because they are so busy running the business and trying to build it. That’s a mistake. The strategic direction of your company should be driving you to your ultimate exit goal. By not proactively planning an exit strategy, business owners may find that their future options are limited.

Consider it this way: your business is a piece of property that you have invested money in. It generates revenue that supports your life and hopefully a sizable distribution of yearly profit. It should also be increasing in value, allowing you to gather more when the time comes.

There are many different flavors of an exit strategy. Some entrepreneurs consider their exit strategy to be the mechanism by which the company moves from one major stage to the next. Entrepreneurs don’t always quit a company, but their responsibilities do change considerably. This is why it’s important for you to plan your exit strategy and have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve.

There are a few things to consider when planning your exit strategy.

First, you need to decide whether you want to sell the business or pass it on to someone else. This will help you determine the best way to structure the sale or transfer of ownership.

Second, you need to think about what you want to do after you leave the business. Do you want to retire, start another business, or pursue other interests?

Third, you need to consider how the business will continue without your oversight and input. This often involves decoding your “secret success sauce” and company culture. You’re going to need a strategy to ensure the people, process, and technology are in place for ongoing success – and thereby transferrable value.

Fourth, you need to have the input of a trusted financial advisor and accountant to craft a financial strategy to address both taxes and how to meet your ongoing financial needs after you have exited the business. Remember, these professionals will help you manage your money – but their job is not to configure the business for your exit.

Finally, you need to think about your personal goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with your exit strategy? Do you want to maximize the value of the business, or do you have other goals in mind?

Planning an exit strategy can be a complex process, but it’s important to take the time to consider all of the factors involved. By doing so, you can ensure that you have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives and that you’re able to achieve them.

If you’ve read this far and you’d like to know more about what you can do right now to give yourselves the most options for an exit – whatever that looks like for you, then just hit REPLY, and let’s talk.


Doug BrownThe most overlooked part of your business – and how to fix it
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When everything feels like a chore | Overcoming midcareer malaise

Midlife career malaise is real. Even for really successful executives and professionals.

You might recognize it as feeling generally uncomfortable or uneasy – in a way that’s difficult to define.

And at midlife, we’re already losing our illusion of immortality. We see that opportunities aren’t endless and that time is finite. It’s perfectly natural to search for excitement and more meaning.

And that was before the Pandemic and the “Great Resignation”

A recent study found that three out of four professionals surveyed said the Pandemic has altered their career plans.

49% said that the Pandemic has caused them to reflect on what they wanted from their career, or employer, prompting them to look for other job opportunities.

I’m kind of surprised it’s only 49%

Thinking deeply about what you really want out of your career, and for your life, is a natural and healthy part of midlife.

It’s also pretty intimidating. Even when you’re feeling dissatisfied and uncomfortable where you are. Especially when you’ve invested so much time and energy establishing yourself as a professional or building a business.

So the natural reaction is to suppress feelings of apathy and lost purpose and that ‘autopilot’ mode. And bury yourself in your work. Hoping the feelings will pass and that you’ll somehow get your mojo back.

Then another January comes around and the feelings come back, again. You’re a year older and you repeat the cycle.

There is a better way.

I’ve learned that pushing down feelings of discomfort doesn’t make them go away. In fact, researchers have found that bottling up emotions had an adverse effect on your body and your mind.

The constructive way to deal with these feelings is to acknowledge them, discover the underlying cause, and create a productive response. And that’s pretty hard to do when you’re so close to the subject.

Here’s the good news.

You’ve got more options than you think.

And you don’t have to abandon what you’ve created to fly to the island and open a margarita stand.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Don’t fall into the trap of slogging through to retirement in the hopes that you’ll find satisfaction.

Give yourself the gift of some thinking time to reflect on what’s really working well for you – and what’s driving you up the wall. Write it out longhand.

Because it’s only when you confront and name a challenge that you can start to solve it.

What are your Top 3 opportunities?

What if you made just one of them happen?

What’s stopping you?

Leave a comment below and let’s get over that thing holding you back.

Doug BrownWhen everything feels like a chore | Overcoming midcareer malaise
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You Don’t Really Need a Coach, unless …

Why would a successful professional go out and spend their hard-earned money on a business or executive coach? After all, they are successful already. They aren’t broken. And they’ve made it this far on their own. So what’s the point?

You’ve been reading my messages (or at least some of them) for quite a while now. So you know I’m not afraid to tell it like it is.

So here’s the truth: You don’t really need a coach if you already know everything there is to know, don’t need to make any improvements in your world at all, you can see the world as it is with perfect clarity, and you’re 100% satisfied with your business and your life.

That’s right, you don’t need a coach, unless:

  • You have a lot at stake and need to move fast to keep up and get ahead.
  • You value a completely safe and confidential relationship where you can get an unbiased perspective and honest feedback on your most vexing problems.
  • You know that having personal attention and accountability accelerates your results
  • You want to avoid distractions and shiny objects that rob you of your valuable attention.
  • You’ve tried other group programs – just to find you could have taught the course.
  • You want a subject matter expert who can provide proven solutions and show you how to implement them.

And you’d only want a coach if you wanted to make more money, faster, and have time to enjoy the life you’ve built.

Besides, an investment with at least a 6x ROI wouldn’t be that interesting. Yes, that’s right research proves a significant positive ROI on coaching:

  • A Fortune 500 company wanted to study the ROI of Executive Coaching. They found that 77% of respondents indicated that coaching had a significant impact on at least one of nine business measures. In addition, they uncovered that overall productivity and employee satisfaction were the most positively impacted areas (which in turn has an impact on customer satisfaction, employee engagement, quality, annualized financial results, and more). In all, their study concluded that Executive Coaching produced a 788% ROI. The study noted that excluding the benefits from employee retention, a 529% ROI was produced. (Executive Briefing: Case Study on the ROI of Executive Coaching, Merrill C. Anderson, Ph.D., MetrixGlobal, LLC)
  • According to the International Coaching Federation (ICF), 86% of organizations saw an ROI on their Coaching engagements, and 96% of those who had an Executive Coach said they would repeat the process again. Behind these results were tangible as well as intangible factors. Tangible factors were areas such as increased productivity, higher levels of overall employee performance, reduced costs, growth in revenue and sales, higher employee retention, and higher engagement of employees. Intangible factors were increased confidence of those being coached, improved communication, stronger employee, peer-to-peer, and key stakeholder relationships.
  • Additional documented benefits:
  • Improved executive productivity (reported by 53% of executives)
  • Improvements in organizational strengths (48%)
  • Gains in customer service (39%)
  • Increased retention of executives (32%)
  • Enhanced direct report/supervisor relationships (>70%)
  • Improved teamwork (67%)
  • Improved peer-to-peer working relationships (63%)
  • Great job satisfaction (52%)

Nope, the real question if you’ve read this far is this.

Why are you denying yourself the proven benefits of having a guide who can make your life easier, more effective, more profitable, and more satisfying?

Surely you deserve it, right?

There is no special trophy for figuring it all out by yourself. Do we think less of athletes like Tom Brady because he took advantage of all the coaching he could get?

If you’ve read this far and you’re thinking that you really should check out the “coaching thing” then you have two options: Get more info with the Guide to Picking the Right Executive Coach or send me a direct message and let’s set up a discovery call.

Either way, don’t wait because I only have a few more openings this quarter – and you don’t want to miss out.



Doug BrownYou Don’t Really Need a Coach, unless …
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More Time Won’t Solve These Problems

I’ve been teaching time management strategies to lawyers for more than 20 years.

Most attorneys come to our CLEs for tips and strategies – many of which they’ve heard before – like time-blocking, scheduling the whole appointment, turning off notifications, and working in block time.

But all the best tips in the world aren’t going to solve the underlying problems that cause the time to get away from nearly everyone.

So let’s look behind the curtain at the real issues. You’re going to have to address those if you want to get better at “time management” so you can ultimately find happiness and satisfaction in your work.

The deeper issues fall neatly into 6 categories:

  1. Attitude and Mindset around time, change, and getting stuff done.
  2. Strategy and Planning.
  3. Setting Priorities
  4. Scheduling
  5. Focusing
  6. Delegating

Ready for the quiz?

Use the attached self-assessment to grade yourself in each category. And then pick a single area to work on each month – one at a time.
Take Your Free Self-Assessment

Work on the underlying issues and you’ll be on your way to giving yourself the time freedom you crave.

Have a great rest of the week.

Oh, and if you’d like a free to debrief session on your self-assessment just
Click Here and we’ll set it up. But don’t wait. I’ve only got a few of these sessions available this month and you don’t want to miss yours.


Doug BrownMore Time Won’t Solve These Problems
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Avoid the #1 Career Limiting Move – Even If You Work for Yourself

Neuroscience shows that our brains treat failure and uncertainty the same way.

That is, they feel the same to us. This is why many people would rather avoid change because the feelings are really uncomfortable.

Research also shows that fear of change is one of the single most career-limiting moves you can make.

By the time you reach “midlife” – however you define it – you have a lot invested in building your career. You’ve created habits and routines to provide many types of certainty – financially, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.

That doesn’t mean that you’re particularly satisfied or happy. Just that you are certain.

Thinking about making a change – whether it is within your field or to an entirely new area – triggers lots of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt), like:

Will I be able to support my family?

  • What if I’m not qualified to do something else, or not good at it?
  • How will my partner/kids/parents/friends feel if I make a change?
  • What if I make a change and decide I made a mistake?

And I get it. I’ve lived through this myself, multiple times. It’s scary.

But I was determined not to let FUD keep me from finding career satisfaction.

I knew I had to get comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with change. Heck, more than comfortable, I had to master it.

I got curious. I researched and experimented and found the formulas that work for me – and that unlocked a career I couldn’t have imagined.

Researching what a change might be like and how to do it does not commit you to make a change.

The knowledge gained will give you the insights you need to make an intentional decision and avoid the career-limiting move.

Don’t let fear of change hold you back. Find out exactly what to do so you don’t have to wonder “What If”.
I’m getting ready to launch a program to get you going.

Click here to be included when it’s ready:

Doug BrownAvoid the #1 Career Limiting Move – Even If You Work for Yourself
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How to Escape the Endless Loop

The Endless Loop is a set of instructions that lacks a functional exit so it repeats indefinitely until it is terminated by some external action or force. The term comes from the computer programming world.

It’s also the thing that sabotages professional careers and businesses.

The endless debate loop happens when you find yourself debating which step(s) to take to improve your professional and personal life – but you’re not exploring them.

The unchecked debate loop can take on a life of its own as your active imagination creates stories about why exploring options is a bad idea, too hard, too complicated, or that you might not like what you discover. Or that maybe you will like what you discover and then have to make a choice?

I’ve seen so many successful professionals and business owners who’ve come to regret getting caught in the debate loop. Like Harry, who had a successful dental practice. His internal debate loop around retirement lasted nearly 10 years until time and the market left him with few choices.

Here’s how to escape your endless loops.

First, name it. Call it what it is. When you give it a name you give your brain the ability to think clearly about it and figure out how to solve it.

Second, write down what you hope to accomplish. You’re probably debating how to get someplace, but not where you want to go. Getting clear on the destination will help you set waypoints to achieve. The route comes after you set the destination.

Third, pick just one of the options you are debating and give yourself the assignment to investigate it – just as you would if you were assessing a case or a new project for someone else. Pick a defined date to report out what you’ve found – even if it isn’t complete.

Finally, stop trying to do this by yourself. I’ve escaped multiple debate loops because I had the right coach at my side. They helped me learn to ask better questions, evaluate results, make better choices and avoid regressing back to debate loops.

What’s one debate loop you’d love to escape?

Oh, and if you’d like help with your escape just reach out and let’s talk. Go here to set it up.

Doug BrownHow to Escape the Endless Loop
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How to Move Faster with Fewer Mistakes

You’d like everyone to move more quickly – and get more done, faster.

But when you’ve tried that before the error rate has gone way up – and you can’t afford the mistakes.

What if there was a way to get things done more quickly and make fewer mistakes at the same time?

What kind of difference would that make to you?

How much better would your business be if you could increase production by just 5%?

Yes, I thought so.

Here’s the secret.

And it’s one that most professionals resist implementing in their business.

It is the written standard operating procedure (aka SOP).

I know, just the idea of SOPs turns off many professionals.

They see them as a business thing – or they believe that each interaction is so unique that it can’t possibly be standardized.

Or they like the idea, but it feels like too much work – and who’s got time for that?

If this is all new to you then start simply with a checklist.

The written checklist is your reminder of the tasks or processes that need to happen.

The procedure (or SOP) is the more detailed document that gives the how, who, when, and where for the task.

Starting with a checklist will keep you from getting tangled up in all that detail.

Here’s how to start:

  1. Define the goal for the checklist. For example, it might be a specific step in the client intake or setup process. Or it might be around billing and collecting accounts receivable.
  2. Decide what kind of checklist you want. Do you want the person using the checklist to do each item as it’s read, or as a confirmation of the steps at the end?
  3. Write it with the Expert in Mind. Assume that the person running the checklist is fully qualified to do the job. This isn’t a “how-to” it’s a reminder to make sure it’s done.
  4. Keep it Short. Checklists are NOT an education tool. It should have no more than 6 to 10 tasks that take a minute or two to check off. If you need a longer one then you need multiple checklists.
  5. Test, Review, and Improve. Checklists are designed to be printed, written on, tested, and improved. Yes, you have to actually tick the box!

Oh, by the way, you should not do this all by yourself. Enlist your staff and work on the project together. After all, they are the experts described in item 3, above.

Doug BrownHow to Move Faster with Fewer Mistakes
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