It’s been a while.

Blame the doctorate and the important submission of a systematic literature review.

Well, what is that?

A literature review covers published work on a topic and helps an academic identify gaps in established knowledge where they can contribute their own research and knowledge for wider benefit, their ‘contribution to practice’.

Let me give you an insight in to the my academic perspective of the review…

There remains consistent call for longitudinal, qualitative and ‘theory to actual behaviour-based’ research. To understand the whole life cycle would demand exceptionally rich data. If we accept previous findings that ‘70% of entrepreneurs agreeing that maintaining an exit strategy is an essential function of being an entrepreneur’ (Crawford & Naar, 2016), the research requirement is to understand both ‘internal and external factors’ that influence the decision to exit but equally how those factors manifest during the exit cycle, from planned exit through to actual exit. This can only be understood by tracking this life cycle from ‘commitment to exit’ through to ‘actual exit’ and over that period of time rather that cross sectional, or aged quantitative data.

That’s great academic chat, but what does it mean in practise?

It means that academia either doesn’t know or hasn’t been able to defend what it thinks it knows. There is a gap between commitment, and actual. You kind of know how you will get there, and what the result is, but the process may differ from intention and the result may differ from your original intention. You may wish to sell, but that gets hijacked by internal or external macros. You may wish to go through a stewardship exit, an MBO perhaps, but you get a pretty excitable private equity offer and your health is declining… there are so many factors that we don’t know because we haven’t observed.

Over the next few months, bi-weekly, we will dip into the literature and convert it to plain speak. It’s something academics are trained not to do! But my business background also understands that this is most effective way to add value for entrepreneurs who need support.

Converting theory and knowledge into practice is something academics need to get better at, whatever their field of study. Supporting entrepreneurs in their exit planning by increasing our understanding of field can only help

I’m looking forward to sharing the knowledge and really kickstarting the conversation. Equally if you are committed to exit, or thinking of exiting and wish to be part of the research to help others, get in touch…

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