A few months ago, I met with a gentleman who wanted to know what his business was worth. He had been in business for quite a while and had achieved considerable success. He knew the marketplace was paying top dollar for businesses like his, and that there would not be a better time to sell if he wanted to go out on top. I started explaining how the process would work, what was involved, what information I would need, and how long the process would take. As I spoke, his mood changed from excitement to confusion. Then, he looked at me and said, “You know, ever since I started this business many years ago, I have dreamed about the day I would sell the business and be able to share the rewards with my family, but now I’m concerned. What am I going to do after I sell my business?”
He explained to me that the business had become his identity, and that he didn’t know if he could separate the two. Even though he was going to have more money than he ever dreamed of, and he knew his family would be financially taken care of after the sale, he was still concerned about what he would do afterwards.
This thought isn’t unusual among my clients. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most common things that comes up when I am working with men who have spent the better part of their lives working and sacrificing to make their business successful, with the hope of receiving the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They focused so hard on making the business successful they forgot to look at the chapter of life that follows the business sale. Sometimes, business owners miss a great opportunity to exit the business when the business is most valuable, and they hold onto the business longer than they should have.
I shared with this client that his concern was not unusual. Then, I gave him a possible solution that I had seen many other successful business owners had implemented.
In today’s world, things are changing faster than any of us could have ever imagined. New technologies and Artificial Intelligence are doing jobs that we thought would always belong to human beings. It is happening so fast that it is impossible to try to outsmart the market going forward. A lot of the business owners I help exit the business can see this situation and have decided to get out while they are on top. Then, with the money they get from the sale of their business, they form a family business — a business that’s relevant in today’s world. By doing this, business owners can both spend time with their families by including them and their different skills and talents in their new venture and offer products and services more relevant to today’s market.