What does it mean to be a proactive business owner? Let’s dive right in and see what proactive is not.


Unless you have a plan and execute that plan, you are being reactive. Most entrepreneurs are reactive, even when they have mission statements and perform strategic planning.


Being proactive means being strategic about your future. It means having the forethought to consider all your options and then choosing the option that works for you. I talked about this a lot in one of my previous articles, but we’ll touch on it here as well.


Proactive is all about designing your best life with intention. Reactive means you’re just rolling with the waves, never quite sure where you’ll end up.


And whether you’re proactive or reactive, at some point you will exit your business. Let’s take a look at your options.


Reactive Exits


These are the four most common reactive exit triggers I’ve seen:


  • Ill health
  • Burnout
  • Indebtedness
  • Partnership dysfunction


None of them sound appealing, I know. The negative impacts of the first one can be prepared for in advance and the other three can in most cases be prevented.


The best approach is to be proactively prepared for an eventual exit, whether it is by design or circumstance. But, what are some proactive exits that you can start planning now?


Proactive Business Owner Exits


If you’re an entrepreneur, it usually means you’re driven and ambitious. You know what your ideal life looks like. These exits can enable you to reach it, whether it is:


  • Leaving to pursue other passions, such as a pastime or start philanthropic endeavors
  • Starting another business,
  • Giving back as an author or speaker,
  • Retiring to spend time with friends and loved ones, etc.


See the stark difference between being reactive and proactive? Of course, no one can know what life will throw at you, but you are in control of the strategies and plans you put in place.


In Conclusion… 


Reactive business owners struggle with stop–go businesses that they run on adrenaline from crisis to crisis. This kind of fuel works for a while but is not sustainable and can make owners sick or burned out in the long term. 


Lack of focus on the right business model can also trap an owner into a debt spiral, eroding the value of the business. Partnership dysfunction can also force a business owner to exit the company prematurely or see it decline.


On the other side, proactive business owners build buyable businesses that allow them to exit and pursue their passions, start another business with bigger potential, pursue outside passions or continue at the helm of a prospering organization run by a succession management team.

If you’re ready to learn how to build a buyable business and design your ideal life, get my new book Buyable. It has all the tools and strategies you need to start planning a perfect exit now!