Business owners share a common trait. As they get older, they don’t want to work as much, yet they surely don’t want to retire. This comes as such a shock to everyone: the spouse, the friends who work the 9-to-5 jobs, the children waiting in line to succeed the owner…no one can figure out why the boss won’t get out the clubs and head for the golf course.
I’m not shocked. Not at all. That company is the owner’s baby. No matter how difficult the work has been, he’s the one who has built it from scratch and watched it grow through the years. As easy as it might seem to retire and take it easy, it’s incredibly difficult to give up your company. The emotional loss cannot be understated here. It’s even worse if the successor drives the business into the ground.
My suggestion? Get the best of both worlds. Retire and grow your company. Here’s how it can be done.
Grey and Growing
In each of the examples I’m going to describe, a business owner has to accept a reduced role.
Let’s face the facts: As you get older, the memory starts to go a little bit, and you don’t have the energy you once did. However, you have all the experience in the world, and if your mind is still sharp, you’re also loaded with imagination and vision.
In the context that you’re transitioning to less work but not less input, consider the following options:
Hire people to grow your business and run the operations. You’re the visionary, true, but you no longer need to be the jack-of-all-trades. Bring in people who are skilled in business development and operations. That way, you’ll have the engine to drive your vision, and the engineer to keep the train on the tracks.
Sell the business, but stay on as a consultant. Using a technique like recapitalization, you can bring new ownership into the organization, but maintain a role in the new entity.
In both cases, don’t be afraid of getting frozen out. If you have something valuable to offer, a smart owner will keep you close and use you like the asset that you are. You’ll also need to create a succession plan, and if you’re in a family business, clearly define everyone’s role for the future.
I can’t emphasize that last point enough. Clearly defining what you want to do will help create a successful transition, and it will allow you to hone in on precisely what you want to do. There’s no need to pack up that golf bag. Keep generating strategies for growth and build your business for future generations. If that’s your passion in life, then there’s no reason why you should give it up.
- See more at: http://www.labelandnarrowweb.com/contents/view_blog/2014-03-14/whats-your-priority/#sthash.GaBPHRqN.dpuf
- See more at: http://www.labelandnarrowweb.com/contents/view_blog/2014-03-14/whats-your-priority/#sthash.GaBPHRqN.dpufRock LaManna, President and CEO of LaManna Alliance, helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic path. He can be reached at Rock@RockLaManna.com.