‘Exit, pursued by a bear.’

‘Exit, pursued by a bear.’

Advice and Insight for Leaders & Entrepreneurs

By Dean Breyley


Not many stage directions are as memorable as that of Act III in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale: ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’

This is however, most Owner/Entrepreneur’s approach to setting the stage for exiting their business. Knowing that an exit has not been or is hastily planned leaves many fearing that the proverbial bear will be chasing them out the door as they walk away.

My experience with leaders to date, is that rarely do people have their personal vision mapped out, let alone how it fits with the company’s. Understanding where you play your part in taking the company forward, and when you want to be succeeded, is best clarified as early as possible. You can then spend time carefully preparing a successor for when you are ready to move on.

In order to help ignite some passion, understanding, and appreciation for a well-designed, proactive succession plan, we have these 6 ideas to inspire you:


1. Nobody is invincible

The more reliant the business is on any one person (expertise, vision, enthusiasm, decision making), the more important it is to answer the following question: “What would happen to this
business if I/they disappeared tomorrow?”. If this question terrifies you, please get to work.

2. Reliance on YOU = Value of The Company

Even if you have every intention of sticking around, a business that runs itself is worth far more than a business with one strong leader and a hundred followers. If you could let go of EVERYTHING and still see the business thrive – why wouldn’t you?

3. There is no such thing as a REACTIVE succession plan

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. You either plan for succession or possibly face a crisis that just might kill the business.

4. You must replace yourself with a Right Person in the Right Seat

Replacing yourself is the most important business decision you’ll ever make. Define a vision of your role for the future, and find someone whose passions, skills, and experiences make them a perfect fit for the business of the future.

5. Being over-prepared is impossible

A long and smooth runway ahead whilst you pilot the company, provides time to make corrections and adjustments before you ever have to take off. Time enables patience in the process and helps you solve issues whilst they are small, and not raging infernos.

6. Be prepared to let go

When moving out of a key leadership seat – you’ll have to let the person transitioning in to take the controls. Be prepared to move from Pilot to Navigator. Provide insight and advice, making
sure that your replacement knows you’ll support whatever decision they make. Whilst many entrepreneurs see the value of a clear exit strategy, they have not yet been able to implement it in their business. The Entrepreneurial Operating System® known as EOS® provides a simple system with a complete set of tools for doing just that. Credit to Mike Paton, Visionary @EOS Worldwide
for the 6 Ideas.

How strong is your company? Find out for free in a simple 5-minute Q&A on our Organisational Checkup® www.organisationalcheckup.co.uk from EOS Worldwide.


Dean Breyley is the MD of Grow or Die based in the South West, helping Entrepreneurs & Leadership Teams to realise their company’s full potential as a Certified EOS® Implementer in the UK    @DeanBreyley     dean@growdie.com



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