Have you ever gotten to the point where you are so fed up with your business that you just want to sell it? Tired of all the day-to-day drama and pressure? Lost your passion for what you are doing? Feel trapped in the company you have built? You are not alone.
Not only have I been there myself, but a recent client of mine, Joe, came to me with very similar issues to these. It’s a common problem—that’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: by taking a bit of time, Joe was able to go from this point of vulnerability to a point of strength.
The Story of Joe’s Transition
I had known Joe for some time, and he had mentioned to me before how he was a bit skeptical when it came to consultants. He had contacted me to request an informal chat, and I accepted. We met and talked for quite some time about how he had fallen out of love with his company. I provided a listening ear, and offered my thoughts where appropriate. At the end of the talk Joe let me know that he would be interested in engaging me as an advisor to help him get his business ready for sale.
He’d stated that he wanted to sell within 6 months, and that he wanted to move on to other ventures. This was an aggressive timeline. I let Joe know that it usually takes 2-5 years to prepare and sell a company. But, as these were his wishes, we would see what we could do.
So what to do! I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. I wanted to follow Joe’s wishes and get him out of the business as soon as possible. But I also knew that it was critical to take a step back. I needed to ensure that Joe didn’t sell his business for a “fire sale” price.
We undertook an intensive period of work, where Joe and I collaborated on a couple of different fronts. First, we evaluated Joe’s personal plan: what he would do in life after business, what his motivations were for leaving, and so on. Many owners decide they want to leave, but get tripped up when it comes to the final act of selling the business —due to fear of an unknown future. Lacking a plan of what to do post business can also create a serious hole in your life, as you no longer have the same identity as when you were running your company.
I found out that my client had a desire to become a motivational speaker. The day-to-day demands of the business were holding him back. He had built up a very successful business, but his passion for it had faded. As he had a solid personal plan in place and some legitimate reasons to leave, I knew these would not act as a stumbling blocks moving forward.
At the same time, we went through a process of business discovery, and pre-sale due diligence. This process familiarized Joe with the mentality of prospective buyers, allowing him to look at his business in a different light.
How did ‘Personal Transition Planning’ help Joe?
By providing Joe with some guidance and the tools he needed, Joe was able to get a thorough understanding of his company’s current status and value—where its strengths lay and what needed to be spruced up before sale. We at look at different options to sell and, by the end of this, Joe was feeling very confident in his path forward.
This guided process took around three months, but the end result was amazing. Joe was left feeling very satisfied with the company he had built up and his accomplishments to date. By taking the time to discuss his personal plans for the future, Joe was able to reach a place where he fell back in love with his business.
He was ready to sell—in fact, his motivation was even stronger. But he came to the realization that if he took some time to improve the business, it would ensure the business got sold to the right buyer, and that the legacy of the company would continue. He would also get the value he desired out of his company.
And me? Well, I got to go along for the ride. Being able to help people like Joe through the entire transition process is satisfying and meaningful work, and I am grateful to be given such interesting opportunities on a day-to-day basis. Many businesses will be getting ready to transfer in the next 10 years, and it’s becoming more and more competitive. What are you doing to prepare your business for sale? If you’d like to chat, visit my contact page to get in touch.