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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


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The Founder of I.B.M. Didn’t Have an Exit Strategy

Mary Schmidt

Sep 13, 2016

IBM imageOf course, that was way back in 1911 when the company was incorporated as Computing- Tabulating- Recording Company (C-T-R).  (International Business Machines was later.  And the NYT, bless its grey heart, still puts in the periods.)  Thomas J. Watson, Sr., often called the Foundering Father of IBM didn’t become General Manager of CTR until 1914.)

Of course,  back in in the good ol’ days, entrepreneurs didn’t run up and down the world pitching Powerpoint to investors.  Lots of bootstrapping. And, people built companies to last (and to actually build things.) - not simply to make money.

So…Ms. or Mr. Entrepreneur - do you really need an exit strategy?  Well, yes. Investors do ask about it. That said, the exit shouldn’t be the major reason you start a company. Strategies should be designed for sustainability…if no other reason than you may not be able to exit how and when you’d like. In fact, it’s almost certain you won’t. Stuff happens. Whatever your exit plans, be prepared to make course corrections.

And, the more you focus on building a sustainable company, the better the exit will be for you and your investors.

Feel you got some value from this post? Then consider visiting Women To Be and making a donation. I’ll never know, but you can make a very real difference for refugee women in Nepal.  (Full Disclosure: I’m the Development Director for W2Be, limited term pro bono contract.)


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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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