At some stage, every entrepreneur exits his business. With planning, a successful harvest can be achieved, but without it, the timing of the business exit may coincide with the entrepreneur’s exit from this world. The field of entrepreneurial exits is underdeveloped; however, research indicates that when an entrepreneur plans his exit, he is likely to exit in the way that had been planned. It is therefore surprising that according to other research, fewer than half of all entrepreneurs plan their exit, at least until an opportunity to exit presents itself. This research asks i) what motivates an entrepreneur to establish his business, ii) what motivates an entrepreneur to exit his business, iii) what routes were available to him to exit and iv) how successful his exit was. These research questions explore entrepreneurial exit on the individual level and the associated motivations, an area that has much still to be understood.
By conducting a qualitative, inductive study, I interviewed entrepreneurs who have established and exited successful businesses. Conducting semi-structured interviews with ten entrepreneurs who have exited businesses across various industries, I used an interpretive approach to process the data and understand the themes that were exposed during the process.
I have been able to contribute to the theory on what motivates an entrepreneur to establish his business and explore if a relationship exists between his motivation to establish and motivation to exit. This was achieved by developing a novel approach to viewing the motivations to exit for the entrepreneur. Contribution was further made by proposing a relationship between motivation to establish a business and motivation to exit. The research concludes by proposing that entrepreneurs’ motivations to start a business are consistent with their motivation to exiting the business.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.