The final topic covered in Winning Angels by Amis and Stevenson focuses on an important concept called harvesting that should be considered by entrepreneurs when starting a business. Harvesting eludes to the various exit opportunities that a business can take whenever the time comes. Of course, an entrepreneur does not need to know exactly how he and investors will exit an industry, but it is something that can be a selling point to potential investors if you have some ideas in place. At the end of the day, investors are ultimately looking to invest their money in opportunities that will yield returns. If an entrepreneur can show investors how his/her idea will provide them with returns on their investment, then he/she shouldn’t have too much trouble raising funds.
Amis and Stevenson highlight seven various exit paths that a business may go through. These paths include a walking harvest, a partial sale, an initial public offering (IPO), a financial sale, a strategic sale, and then two not so ideal options known as Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 which would serve as a last resort in worst case scenarios. Of these options, the strategic sale seems to be the most common and sought-after path. The authors describe a strategic sale as one that involves a buyer who “is typically an industry player that will pay value beyond what the cash flows might suggest.”
I found this final chapter to be extremely interesting because quite honestly, I have not put a lot of thought into exit plans when thinking about business ideas. I typically think about things like the quality of the product/service, who will be the target market, how would you market to this demographic, etc. This book and especially this chapter have opened my eyes to the importance of at least thinking about potential exit strategies even though a business may only be in an idea phase. Investors want to make money on their investments as do most entrepreneurs. Therefore, taking the time to think about the end goal can be extremely beneficial in the development of a business. It almost allows you to somewhat reverse engineer your thinking which may help provide guidance when developing a business plan and strategy.