Selling a Business

Entrepreneurs need their own team to navigate the sales process.

We've Been Successful...Now What Do We Do?

posted by: Brian Caldwell
Mar 4, 2019 9:18:44 AM

Counter-intuitively, entrepreneurs that have achieved significant success are often the most anxious. Huh?

As business brokers, we see entrepreneurs at both ends of the cycle; first time business owners taking the plunge and the established, successful business owner wanting to take chips off the table and enjoy life more.

Typical Buyer Attitudes

The first time business owners are usually putting everything they have on the line, stretching to the limit, and trusting that their business plan will turn into reality, while having relatively large business loan payments, paying off their home mortgage, funding their children’s education, and their own retirement plans.  Typically, they have the “I can’t wait to see what next month will bring” attitude.

Typical Seller Attitudes

Simultaneously, business owners with some success under their belt, such as paid off home(s), fully funded children’s education and retirement plans, and ability to make charitable contributions after they have not had business loan payments to make for several years, are more anxious.  Often, it seems they are more worried about what risks they are not seeing, that could potentially hurt their wealth and their family, than the start-up entrepreneur.  Typically, they have the “What potential bad thing will happen next year?” attitude. (Click here to Harrumph!)  Seems odd that the stronger the balance sheet, the higher the anxiety…And odder yet, it seems these anxious times intensify after a big success.

There are several potential and compounding reasons to consider:

  • Age related. Young and ignorant vs. Old and survived everything that life has thrown at me (so far,) by good decision-making and dumb luck. And most will admit that at least a portion of their success was by the latter.
  • Energy related. Let’s go get ‘em vs. I’d rather be golfing.
  • More on the balance sheet at risk. The more we have, the more we have to lose, and the more important it seems to be to us.
  • Complexity of the wealth management gets more complicated as wealth accrues. There’s more moving parts, and more to think about.
  • Less time available to recover from losses than when starting out. Sorry, can’t help this one.
  • While both 1st inning and last inning business owners have high demands on their time, the older one seems to value time away from the business more. Many times, after a big win, comes increases to my net worth, but often demands more of my time.  Is it really worth the time away from my family?  Here comes the anxiety.
  • Now what do we do? We have met our goals that we set when we started.  Now what is my purpose? 

This lack of purpose seems to underlie more anxiousness than any.  As we’re starting out, it’s easy, the purpose is to economically survive and grow.  Now that we survived and grew, what do we do?  What’s important?

Counters to Lack of Purpose:

  • Sometimes we need to reset the destination after we’ve arrived at a waypoint. Where do we want to go?
  • What are the next goals I want to achieve?
  • Who do I want to teach and what do I want to teach them?
  • What can my wealth do for my family and others?
  • What do I enjoy most about my business and what parts of my business drain my energy?

Contact Us

If you’ve started experiencing the anxiety about your business strategy, give us a call.  Learning about the business sale process can help your decision making whether you decide to sell now or down the road a bit. Whenever you determine the time is right to capture your success and turn the reigns over to the next buyer, we’re here to help.  Every business owner will exit his business.  When is your right time?

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