Have you figured out what you want to have, or to be, when you reach the end of your personal run in this business life?
It is a fair question. Most of us work in our businesses, either as managers or owners, and rarely step outside to think about how this will end in a perfect world.
Investors call this discussion “exit planning” and of course they include themselves in the
discussion. But this is more personal, isn’t it? If you are relatively young, you probably think of this question as too distant to consider seriously. Of course, you’ll find another exciting venture and start again.
But for most of us, this question is or should be real and very personal. And obviously, the answer depends upon the circumstances of our lives, our age, and our health among other factors.
And the truth is that sometimes our business runs end badly, not with a crazy–large wire transfer or retirement bonus, but with a quick goodbye or a failed enterprise.
[Email readers, continue here…] But this question begs for a positive answer. How would you like to see your finish line? If you own a significant piece of the business, is this a time to consider planning an eventual exit or liquidity event? Or do you plan to pass control to the next generation if appropriate?
Considering the alternatives early in the timeline helps you to monitor growth in terms of valuation, weigh the value of continued investment, bring family members into the discussion, and picture the end game in your mind.
In this series of insights, we continue to examine issues related to all phases of business management, including a piece on “evergreen companies,” where your picture of success is one involving the next generation continuing your good work, and not a sale of the company. But where we have examined your management style and given insights for you in your business life, now we ask you to consider – even if just for a few minutes – that next or last stage.
Perhaps for the first time, this is a question to share with family. From considering retirement to plowing right back in to another run, family is deeply involved in this, and should be.
So here is my wish for you. Consider what you want in the end from your years of work, often years of sacrifice between business and family, with business often winning more of the time battles. And picture how this should finish. Make that picture vivid and actionable.
Then work toward, and enjoy someday crossing that finish line just the way you envisioned.