Is it the Calm Before the Storm: Where do You Want to be in Two Years?

There is no secret, the word on the street is that tough times are coming and the glory days of a fat market will indeed come to an end. Of course, the pundits have been telling us that for a while, so what’s a business owner to do? Sit, grow, sell, buy more? At some point every business owner wants to transition out, and in fact everyone must as we don’t all live forever.

The magic is doing it at the right time. Part of that is just darn luck – we’ve all heard of companies getting ABOVE top dollar for their company only to have a bubble burst on the new owner a couple years later.

Here’s the rub. Now is prime selling time for many industries – especially here in the Northeast. Savvy buyers are in stealth waiting mode, they want the downturn so they can capitalize on someone else’s misfortune. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just business.

The next level – it’s us. The famed Baby Boomers. The exodus of people ages 55-72 has begun and will only escalate over the next decade. Adding another dimension is the mindset of many Boomers – you work until you can’t. Many in our age bracket haven’t planned, retirement snuck up on them, and something happens putting them in crisis “I need to sell NOW” mode. Most of family owned businesses will change hands over the next 5 years. Retirement, health, and burnout lead the pack for reasons.

Most children aren’t following in Mom & Dad’s footsteps, leaving many of these family owned businesses being acquired or merged.

It indeed is the calm before the storm – the Perfect Storm.

If you are a Boomer business owner the procrastination needs to stop. You never truly know what is going to drive your decision to sell and being prepared is not only smart business, it will reduce your stress level immensely. Happy Boss often equals Profitable Company.

Here is my simple 4-Step strategy to move you away from the storm and into calmer seas:
1. Hire an advisor. Yes, this sounds like a sales plug but it isn’t. I hire people to fill voids of talent I do not have – accountants, wealth managers, and legal advice.

2. SWOT it. Take a deep look in the proverbial mirror – what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that will determine the outcome of your exit?

3. Start NOW and clean up your house. From staffing, to sales, to marketing, to culture. If you want top dollar for your business you need to have it staged in a way that’s appealing to the best buyers. Choose the top three opportunities that will create the biggest impact!
4. Personal Life goals. It’s so important that you are clear about what you want your life to look like once the transition of power and ownership happens. You need to have a plan!

Finally, is mindset and being flexible. Understand that this will be a very emotional process. Listen to the experts and take small steps to optimize the process and your outcome will be far better than most.

As far as the economy? It’s cyclical – so don’t wait. Be ready so you can listen to the cues and be able to act for maximized results!