What is your Exit Strategy?
This is an essential question to answer, particularly if you are going to be seeking capital from outside investors. Venture Capitalists want their money out in three to five years. Most expect you to sell your business or go public.
Developing your exit strategy means you have to think about what you want to do with your business and what you want out of your business. Do you enjoy starting things but not running them? Think about getting the business going, then hiring a chief executive officer and other C-level executives to run the business for you. Think about selling the business to a larger firm in about five years. You could sell to competitors, suppliers, customers or strategic allies.
Companies with dramatic growth and profits that become household names can go public. (Think Google or Apple.)
Or maybe you just want to run and grow your business, letting it throw off cash in the form of dividends. Maybe you just want a business that is a joy to run and will steadily grow and provide you with a living.
In some cases, you can have a business that your kids take over.
Whatever you do, plan it out. Make your business do what you want it to -- be in control -- make your business suit the life you want -- not the other way around.