For Entrepreneurs “Financial Exit” is a Dangerous Misnomer

Riverboat I've always hated the term "exit" when used to describe the sale of a startup.  Entrepreneurs don't use it that much, although I've noticed recently it's become more popular.  The term originates from the venture investor community and is used to describe when the investor sells their ownership stake in a portfolio company, i.e. the point at which you can measure whether you have made or lost money.

The problem is that the company being sold, the employees, customers, suppliers and the new buyer all remain and have certainly not "exited." 

I've always liked that line in the movie Deep Impact where the old astronaut played by Robert Duvall says something like, "On the old Mississippi, riverboat captains could not know the whole route of the ever-changing mighty Mississippi so they would come aboard to navigate their stretch and then hand off to the next captain." 

That's how I think "exits" should be described…as "hand offs."  Entrepreneurs (and investors for that matter) are just custodians of a company during their time and their objective should be to hand off the firm to the next captain in the best shape possible and poised for further growth and success. 

Viewed this way, you have a platform for many repeat successes and not a transactional pump-and-dump scheme.