Your life after you sell your business may not be all that you imagine. Here is why…
Recently I recorded several videos about selling your company and it is something that I’ve thought about for years from different experiences I’ve had in business. This goes all the way back to mid 2000 in terms of experience in selling your business and thinking about it. It is a topic that I am very aware of and it is a topic that affects both the very small business owner and the multi-million dollar business owner because in both cases you are thinking about it. Many times it is the dream of both, the small guy and the big guy. The little guy a lot of times is in the middle of being frustrated and burned out and dreams of the day he can walk away from their business. The bigger guy might have those exact same dreams, because as you get bigger, your problems don’t necessarily go away. You just have different problems.
I think that it is an important topic to think about no matter where you are in business even when you are small. The reason for that is, as you build your company, if you are building just to sell, you build your company completely different and you work on your business in a completely different way. You are more worried about building top line revenue and growing profit as fast as you can whereas, in my opinion, if you are building your company to keep it, you are more worried about culture and people and procedures and systems and things of that sort. Not that you don’t worry about those things when you are building your company to sell it because all of those things help you get your company sold at maximize price. Yet you just think about things at a different level.
You want to make sure when you are going to keep your company, that you are still going to want this thing in 5 or 10 years. Whereas when you are building it to sell it, you might mentally let certain things go and say, “I don’t care. That’s going to sort of be the next person’s problem.”
I said all of that to lead into a point. I was talking with someone that I am friends with that is very successful, has built multiple very successful businesses, and is at a point where he can take off for 1 or 2 months at a time easily. I am not at that point anymore because I have Service Autopilot. I couldn’t be gone for 2 months. Whereas, this individual can and what he has observed from being gone for quite a period of time is it gets pretty boring because all of your best friends still have jobs. They are still working and you can’t just call them out there in the middle of their life. They can’t necessarily just take off and travel. They might have kids or maybe you have kids and your kids are going through school and your kids have sports.
What he has observed and even other individuals have said the same thing. The idea of selling and walking away, not really having much to do sounds wonderful but, the reality of it is, once you do that, what do you do? Who do you do it with? Everybody else still has a job and everybody else is still working and not everybody else can get away.
I say all of this because I think back in the beginning, you need to know whether you are building to sell or building to keep. You may change your mind but you at least need to know up front because if you are building it to sell, then you are going to do things differently than if you are building it to keep. And what if eventually you have the realization that you know what, maybe selling isn’t as great as I thought it would be. Maybe I should focus more on building a great company, one that can run itself. Maybe I should focus a little bit more on solving some of these problems in my business instead of ignoring them because I think they are going to become somebody else’s problems down the road.
My point of the video is to consider, and maybe try to look at if you were to sell the company, meaning that you are not going to work as hard on building a great company that you’ll own in 10 years. If you are building it to just sell it, what will you do when you actually sell the company? And, if there is a way that you can experience that and find out for yourself, I think that might change your attitude on selling. The other thing about this is I have known a number of people that have sold their companies and become very bored very quickly and in most cases they’ve sold their company and within a couple of years were disappointed that they had. Even though they made a lot of money, they miss being in the game, they miss having the friendships, they miss being challenged and they miss all of that.
This is two fold. One, try to figure out for yourself exactly what you’d really do if you sold this thing and you had 3, 5, 6 months a year to do nothing. What exactly would you be doing in your life? Is that really something you want? And two, once you have that answer, what might you change within your business, the way you are doing things, or the problems you are not solving, to make it a company that you do love that you will want to keep 10 years from now.