The decision to transition from your business can feel like an epiphany. You are ready to exit, and now it’s time to make it happen.
Or, to the contrary, selling your business might seem more like a distant vision—the kind that has you ruminating but not quite activating.
Whichever the case may be, whether urgent or unhurried, the exit is so much more than a goal you reach or task you complete. Think of it as the following:
A Life Event
While the act of exiting is a tangible goal and outcome, the implications touch every aspect of your life. As an entrepreneur, your business is a part of you, from the lifestyle you enjoy to the relationships you cherish to the identity you embody. Realize that transitioning from your business will create a void that you must fill in some form. Engineering your ideal exit includes planning what your life will look like after the transition—aka, finding your happy place.
A Delicate Balance
There are three key components to any exit. They also apply, quite simply, to life.
1) Time: how much do you want?
2) Money: how much do you need?
3) Energy: how much do you have?
Each piece impacts the others, and it’s important to know the order of priorities. For example, if you are burnt out and seeking to exit your business ASAP, your energy becomes the main factor, and so you might consider taking less money to sell the business sooner. On the flip side, if you need a certain amount of money to live the life you envision after the exit, you might be inclined to put more time and energy into growing your business until the market will bear your magic number for the sale price.
Quality vs. Quantity
The time-money-energy balance lends itself to the classic question of quality vs. quantity—quality being quality of life, and quantity being money to fund it. The time you get to enjoy and energy you have to enjoy it will decrease with each passing year; it’s the bittersweet fact of life that makes the journey so personal and a business owner’s transition so pivotal.
Your Win, Your Future
If you are considering transitioning from your business, it is not because you want to get it over with and move on. It is because you desire a change in your life. This is similar to the misconception of dieting. People don’t go on diets because they want to eat less, weigh less, and count every calorie. They want a healthier life. They want to feel good about themselves. They want to stay healthy going forward.
The exit, then, doesn’t end with a checkmark. When you do it right, you should walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and foundation for a happy, healthy, and rewarding next chapter.
By John Ovrom, President & Founder, Exit Consulting Group