Business owners have a ton of excuses as to why they won't begin planning for succession. But making excuses only leads to procrastination, and being unprepared may lead you to squander a great deal, or have to stay longer than you wish.
You have nurtured and grown your business. It's hard to imagine leaving! It's been one of the most important things in your life.
Some common excuses from business owners and ways to combat them include:
-Darn! My business isn’t worth enough to meet my needs.
This excuse is legitimate, but also can be addressed. Making an exit plan to drive up value years before you intend to leave will help ensure that when the time comes, your business will leave you financially stable. Start now to identify the most productive and tax-efficient ways to leave on your own terms.
-This business is my life! Who will I be without it?
It can be scary to leave behind something you’ve poured your heart and soul into for the last thirty years, but if you invest some energy in assessing what motivates you, you can find a meaningful and rewarding lifestyle in your post-business life.
-A buyer will find me when the time is right.
If only… This passivity can lead to working much longer than expected, much longer than wanted, or it can result in a bad deal for you. Being an active seller is better than waiting; the market of tomorrow may not be perfect, you never know when a competitor can move in or another recession hits. Working towards finding a suitable buyer is always better than waiting for one to come to you.
-I will be required to work for a new owner for years.
Not if you make sure you have a solid team to run the business while you’re still there. Invest in their professional development. The less you need to be involved now, the less you’ll need to be involved then. Your business is more valuable if you don’t need to run it day in and day out.
Start planning for this transition now to secure your financial security and future happiness and to ensure the sustainability of your business for your employees and customers. There may not be a perfect time to exit, but the time to start planning is now. When you actually walk away is an incredibly personal decision that only you can make.