This episode’s purpose is to tee up the future of the Life After Business podcast and give you an understanding of why I am so passionate about business exit planning.
I believe transitioning into a life after business is an extremely complicated emotional and intellectual journey. Very few entrepreneurs get a trial run, let alone a second chance, to sell their business. The lack of information out there leaves the business owner alone to figure out what they want, who can help them, and how to achieve it.
When my Dad and I sold our company in early 2014 we did not have the guidance or awareness of the process I wish we had. We felt very alone and out of place. We could run a hell of a business but we had no idea how to even start with selling or transitioning it. We experienced many bumps and bruises along the way, both financially and emotionally.
I want to bring you, the listener, as much information as I possibly can, the information I wish we would have had, so you can avoid what we experienced and increase your chances of a successful exit.
What is a successful exit?
I believe a successful business exit is one where the owner walks away happy. It is a smooth and comfortable transition into a life after business that is full of passion, purpose, and community. I believe the true definition of success is happiness.
The best definition of happiness if have seen comes from Shawn Achor’s book: The Happiness Advantage. He defines happiness as “the joy you feel moving toward your potential.” Therefore, redirecting your passion, energy, talent, and drive into new ventures is critical for a successful exit.
You can’t just focus on the tactical part of selling the business—keeping the advisors in check, finding buyers, due diligence, making sure the buyer doesn’t screw you, all the while running the business. This abandons the introspective questions that need to be addressed.
Your real wishes and desires as a business owner need to be brought to the forefront of the conversation. Bo Burlingham in his book, Finish Big, says that the business owners that walked away happy with the outcome knew who they were, what they wanted from the business, and why.
What are you going to do in the next stage of your life? Who are you as a person without your company? How can you negotiate or make critical decisions about the sale of your company if you don’t know these answers? Chasing the highest dollar amount or shortest sale cycle can leave unintended consequences.
The questions of when you want to sell, to whom, what your number is, what will happen to your employees, and whether you want to stay on for the transition, should be answered based on what you want out of the whole process and not just based on the highest dollar amount.
Once you know who you are, what you want from LIFE, and why, it is much easier to back into the tactical steps to get you there. You now have a plan to guide you and your advisors through the process.
This podcast is to share my experiences and positively impact the conversation surrounding exit planning. The more information that is out there, the better off we, as entrepreneurs, will be.