It takes guts to start a business. But to succeed also takes a strategic mindset.

What does that mean? How do you know if you’re thinking strategically enough? One way is to imagine you’re about to put your business on the market. What would a potential buyer hope to see in your business? What would you add or take away to make it more attractive? When you start to consider this, it’s the first step towards building a robust succession plan for your business.

The most important thing is to get your house in order. Establish systems so the business isn’t solely reliant on you. Make sure the business can run as a standalone entity.

Maximise your profit. Don’t steer your business decisions to minimise your tax liability. Prioritise creating a profitable business.

Rob Young, of Platform 1, works with business owners to ensure they get the best possible return when selling their business. Rob sees businesses not starting to plan early enough as one of the biggest mistakes people make. “Planning needs to start two to four, even five years out.”

As a business owner, be aware of all your options when you’re planning your succession strategy. Too often people think in “stop-go” terms: sell the business or retire and pass the business to the next generation. Talk to a professional who can clue you in to more options for greater flexibility.