September 7, 2002
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
Featured Resource - TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL
Staff Article - WHAT
IS YOUR EXIT STRATEGY?
- DE-S P A M YOUR INBOX
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TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE
For the past seven years, anti-graft watchdog Transparency International has
published a Corruptions Perceptions Index. The 2002 index has just been
The index ranks the world's countries in terms of the degree to which
corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
This year, the organization ranked 102 countries, creating a composite index
from 15 different polls and surveys from nine independent institutions.
You can find the rankings and details at:
Can't wait to see the list? Cleanest countries on the list are (top 5 and
ties) Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore and Sweden. Worst
were Angola, Madagascar, Paraguay, Nigeria and Bangladesh. The U.K. ranked
10th cleanest and the U.S. was 16th.
The site also has a lot of other useful reports and information. If you do
business in other countries or are anticipating doing so, you'll like this
WHAT IS YOUR EXIT
A month or so ago we published
a series on developing a business plan. Doing so requires a lot of research
and work on your part. When you're done, you feel a sense of accomplishment,
and you should. It is a large but important task and a great tool for
helping you build and run your business effectively.
But there is one thing often left out of most business plans designed for
internal use, and that is an effective exit strategy. An exit strategy is
just what the phrase implies: how are you going to get out of this business
when the time comes?
Most people run their businesses with the implied idea in mind that they
will run it until they drop dead some day. With a little further thought,
almost every business owner will admit that this is not really what they
have in mind. This is true no matter how large or small your business might
be at this time. Most business owners want to grow their business to a
certain size and then cash out on their years of hard work.
But how many PLAN for it? Actually, very few. And it's a BIG mistake.
GROWING YOUR BUSINESS WITH A PURPOSE
The primary reason people perform business planning is to grow their
business. But the goal of "growing the business" is not refined or specific
enough. Grow it to what size? Over what period? To what end?
Business planning without an exit strategy is really business planning
without a long-term purpose. When you're a year away from retiring it's too
late to change your overall business strategy to force it to fit your
retirement desires. Your retirement from the business, no matter what age
you choose for retirement, is a major business change that must be planned
for properly. Your planning will vary depending on how you plan to exit the
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
Many of you may have family members, such as sons or daughters, that you
would like to see take over the business. If so, you have to do three major
1. Make sure they actually want to take over the business,
2. Get them trained and prepared to take over the business, and
3. Get the business ready for them.
Transferring power to a family member can be very difficult if you don't
plan for these items. It will take many years to accomplish these goals and
it is never too early to start planning for them. If they are not interested
in the business and have not been trained, your business is going to fail
very quickly after your exit. Likewise, you must have the business
positioned to fit their management style and, hopefully, with some extra
cash reserves to take into account the inevitable mistakes they will make as
Having a painless transfer of power will require them to be heavily involved
in the management of the company well before your retirement. This is not
only to make sure they are trained to handle the business, but to allow time
for your employees, customers and vendors to get to know them and learn how
to deal with them.
This is especially true with respect to management-level employees who are
important to your business. If they resent your putting family members in
charge when you leave and decide to go elsewhere, your business could fail
You also need to plan what you need from the business and make arrangements
to get it without bankrupting it. Do you need a lump sum up front or can you
afford to take it out over time? If you take it out over time, what happens
if the business doesn't do as well? Will you stay involved in the overall
management of the company or do you want to make a clean break?
All of these issues should be addressed and planned for well before the time
comes to transfer the reins.
An excellent way to cash out is take your company public. This will likely
require more planning than if a family member is taking over. When leaving
your business in the hands of family, you have literally open-ended options
with respect to what type of business you are building. It can retain a "Mom
and Pop" feel if that is your desire. If your goal is to eventually go
public, your planning will have to focus on building a company that will be
appealing to the market. That means more structure, a deeper executive core,
sustained profitability through all types of market conditions, and a
concentration on building the intangibles of your business.
You will also have to plan for the rather large expenses of going public.
It's not uncommon to need to spend $500,000 or more on this process.
Assuming you want to cash out altogether upon going public, you'll need to
plan to have a CEO in place well before taking the company public. If you
are the CEO up to that time, your leaving will have an impact on the stock
offering. Plan to turn over the day-to-day management several years before
the offering in order to give your new CEO time to build a reputation and a
SELLING YOUR BUSINESS
When the time comes, perhaps you just want to sell your business and
completely wash your hands of it. It's a very clean way to retire. If that's
the case, you're going to want to build as much value into the company as
In a sense, you're going to follow a similar plan as if you were going to
take the business public except that you would not have to concentrate so
much on building a "corporate" structure and mindset.
If another individual buys it, he will likely be purchasing it to run it and
would probably prefer a small business atmosphere.
If a corporation buys it, they're going to bring their own corporate culture
to the company.
Your goal will be to build a business that can run profitably independent of
your will and talents. This means training your employees, particularly
management-level employees, to take over more and more responsibility as you
get closer to the date you set for retirement.
WHEN DO YOU START?
Your choice of how you build your business over the next years or decades
will change depending on what type of exit strategy you prefer. That is why
you must start planning for it now. You can only ensure your ability to
comfortably retire from your business if you build it to meet the needs you
will have at that time.
Exit strategy planning is also not a one-shot deal. It is a process you will
begin now and then update as often as necessary based on market conditions
and your own, possibly changing, personal preferences.
Running your own business can not only be profitable; it can be enriching in
so many other ways as well. Proper exit strategy planning can make your
retirement years comfortable and care free!
Copyright (c) 2002
P A M YOUR INBOX: "HOW TO FIGHT THE S P A M WAR AND WIN!"
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Please forgive the spreading of the "S" word
throughout this article wherever it appears by itself. It is necessary to
keep the newsletter from being blocked. Ironic, isn't it?)
S p a m, S p a m everywhere... what's a person to do? If you're
an online entrepreneur, odds are your mailbox is filling up daily with S p a
m. The longer you've been "working" the Net and the more visible you've
become, the more you're probably receiving. I've been online about five
years now, and one of my mailboxes alone is over 85% S p a m.
First, you need to realize that S p a m is part of doing business online and
there's really no escaping it. But that doesn't mean you can't rid yourself
of it by using the right tools and arming yourself for daily battle.
There are many excellent tools, some even free that will help you fight the
war on S p a m and Win! Let's review some of my personal favorites:
1) S p a m Net:
This excellent piece of software is a relative newcomer and free to
download. It only works with Outlook and runs invisibly in the background of
your mail program. The software adds 2 new buttons at the top of Outlook's
interface named "block" and "unblock" and adds a "S p a m folder" where it
puts all of the
S p a m it finds so you can review it if you want before deletion.
If you get a piece of junk when you download your mail, just hit the block
button. This sends it and whatever the sender tries to mail you in the
future straight to the S p a m folder. It also casts your vote to CloudMark
and when they receive enough complaints on a sender that mail is
automatically labeled as
S p a m.
If, after reviewing the S p a m folder, you find something that doesn't
belong there, just highlight it and click the "unblock" button to bring the
sender back in to your inbox forever more. Right now this software only
works with Outlook, but there is talk about a version for Outlook Express
coming soon. I've been using this software for a few months and am very
the results. Runs on Win 98/NT/2000/XP.
Another ad-supported free piece of software that works beautifully. I've
been using this with my Outlook Express accounts and couldn't be happier.
You run Mailwasher before downloading your mail from your server. It
automatically marks mail it suspects as S p a m - then you can designate the
sender as a "friend" or blacklist him with just a click. You then click
"process mail" and any "bad" email is bounced back to the sender and the
good stuff is sent to your inbox.
You can upgrade Mailwasher to an ad-free version by sending a donation to
its creators. Believe me, you'll love it so much you'll want to send them
money for all the headaches this software will save you. It can be
configured to check multiple accounts so it's great if you're managing
multiple identities and boxes. It does not support web based accounts like
Hotmail or Yahoo, but a version is supposedly underway for them. Runs on Win
3) S p a m Buster:
The free version of this software is ad-supported, which means it displays
banners at the top. If you spend the 19.95 and register it, the ads are
removed. Before using your POP mail account you run SpamBuster, which looks
for junk and comes complete with a list of over 17,000 known spammers. It
checks your email periodically for new messages and provides stats and
charts of how much S p a m you're actually receiving. Also Works with AOL,
Hotmail, or Yahoo! accounts. Works on Win 95/98/2000/ME/NT/XP
4) MailShell: http://www.MailShell.com
Blocks 99% of all junk mail and works with your current email address. Free
30 day trial available. Less then 3.00 a month after that.
SpamKiller was recently purchased by Mcafee Software who makes the award
winning virus software. Works with POP based email accounts and will run you
39.95. Like most S p a m filtering software, it checks for new email and
possible S p a m on your server before downloading it to your email client.
Filters are automatically updated and you can create your own custom
filters. You can also lodge complaints with spammers and their hosts from
within the interface. Supports Win 95/98/NT/
ME/2000 or XP.
Works with POP email accounts and includes its own email porn filtering
utility. Does not support AOL or Hotmail accounts.
Free software that supports multiple email accounts. S p a m Weasel uses
powerful rules to identify Spam and permits a range of user defined actions
like blocking and deleting. Easy to Install and use.
8) Spamex: http://www.Spamex.com
Spamex offers disposable email addresses so you keep your real address off
spammers' lists. Mail sent to the fake address is then forwarded to your
real email account. As soon as the disposable account starts picking up S p
a m and being abused you can delete it and create a new one. 19.95 a year.
A S p a m blocking system that's based on the fact that most incoming mail
is S p a m unless the sender has obtained your permission to email you. You
may preapprove senders from your address book. When an unauthorized email is
sent to you, its sender is forced to fill out a form stating why he should
be allowed to communicate with you. Then it's your choice whether or not to
receive messages from him.
Supports POP accounts and runs on Windows NT, 2000, XP, 98, ME. It does not
currently work with web-based email systems such as HotMail, Juno or Yahoo
or with MSN or AOL's proprietary email. Currently offering a 2-week trial of
their service, or buy it for 39.95.
10) S p a m Arrest:
Another service that blocks the junk before it can hit your inbox. All email
goes through their server first, and if the sender is already a "verified
source" their mail travels to you seamlessly. If they are not, you'll need
to add them to your approval list to make sure you continue to receive their
emails without any interruption.
S p a m Arrest works on Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape,
Incredimail, and any other email program that supports the POP3 protocol.
Free 30 day trial is available and if you like it the price is only 19.95
every 6 months.
For more tips and helpful S p a m resources check out:
Elsop's Anti-S p a m Page
Excellent links and resources offered here
Info. on More Anti-S p a m Software
More Free Anti-S p a m Software
Let's face it. You can't wage your own personal war on S p a m and win, but
you can reclaim your own inbox by incorporating software that only allows
"real" mail to come through. So choose your weapon and prepare for battle by
protecting what's rightfully yours -- your Inbox.
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