The holidays are nearly here and, in the midst of making merry and making resolutions, it’s a good time for business owners to think about making exit plans.

As a business owner, you belong to an unconventional group of people who lives and breathes “business”. No matter what’s happening in your personal life or in world events, you tend to concentrate on the details, both large and small, of running your business, while reacting to demands from customers, employees, vendors, government regulations and pressures arising from COVID-19, supply chain problems and more. So, as the holidays approach and a new year looms, take a good look at your business’s life cycle and, more importantly, your personal life cycle.

When the time comes to step away from the business that has consumed so much of your energy and attention, consider what that means for you. The good news? You won’t have to worry about all those demands and pressures anymore. The bad news? Your importance to the business and your industry will be far less than it was, except perhaps in a legacy role. For some business owners – maybe you – this could be extremely difficult.

So What Do I Do Now?

What are the secrets of transitioning into post-business life? Devoting some serious time to thinking about what you want to do with your time when you move out of your business and how you will accomplish this is an essential first step. And it’s unfortunately the step that is often and easily overlooked. Neglecting it could lead to seller’s remorse as well as other undesirable issues.

New Life, New Role

Don’t be blindsided when you sell your business and find yourself living a different kind of life. Remember the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared”, and put that into action for yourself. Things to do now:

  • Make sure you are properly prepared for this life-changing transition – clearly identify your goals and objectives, and how you will make them happen.
  • Allow sufficient time to work on your post-transition life plan – start this ideally one to two years before selling your business.
  • Recognize all your exit options – study the pros and cons of each one and how they could impact your life.
  • Ask yourself, “What do I really want to do after I sell my business?” – be honest with yourself, be proactive, don’t procrastinate.
  • Identify your fears, concerns, and other issues regarding your transition – make sure you address them early.

Reap the Rewards with Touchstone Readiness

Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying your life beyond your business years. You invested time, effort and money in your business and now it’s harvest time. Helping you to reap the rewards of all those years of hard work is Touchstone’s Owner’s Readiness and Company Readiness Surveys.

These Surveys are designed to determine:

  • How prepared you are to leave your business, both financially and mentally
  • How dependent your company is on you as the owner

The results of the Surveys will provide you with a firm foundation for the necessary discussion and analysis that must take place before you sell your business. Its importance is such that it will ultimately impact the transferability and value of your business and the timing of your exit, as well as the exit options available to you.

So, have a happy holiday season, ring in the new year, and make an unbreakable resolution to plan for life beyond business!

Steven Pappas
Touchstone Advisors