Too many owners don’t know when it’s time to move on, however. They stay in the game for a variety of complicated reasons, and their business suffers as a result. So how do you know when it’s time to move on, like my father?
Here are a couple indicators that a transition in your life is needed:
You don’t wake up thinking about your business. Owning a business isn’t a lifestyle for the clock-punching, nine-to-fiver. Your business is likely on your mind most of the day, as it should be. You should always be eagerly looking for the next big thing, thinking of ways to improve your company, and pushing the envelope. You don’t want to be obsessive -- but you want to be enthusiastic and excited about what the next day will bring.
You see others passing you by...and you let them go. There is always some new innovation in the marketplace, or some young up-and-comer pushing a new technology or process. You’re used to it, and in the past, you’ve listened to it and learned from it. But if you see new trends occurring and you’re sounding the retreat, it’s a red flag. A business that isn’t growing is shrinking, both intellectually and financially.
You’re just not happy. Ever reminisce about the old days, when you were building your business and there was a fire in your gut? Those glory days put a smile on your face, but now they’re gone, and it bums you out. Well it shouldn’t. If you’re not happy right now, don’t accept that this is the end of the road. You’re a business owner. You’re used to building your own life. Rebuild. Create anew, invent a life you want to live that will make you happy. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again.
You’re sick. Sometimes owners take better care of their business than they do their own body and mind. If your health is on the decline, then it’s time to take immediate action and transition to a healthier place.
My father knew when enough was enough, and he has enjoyed many years of happy retirement with my mother. You know your business, but now it’s time to really know yourself. Take some personal inventory. The time might be right to move on.
Rock LaManna is the author of L&NW's popular column, The Bottom Line. Rock helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic path. He is President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance, and provides guidance on how to grow a printing business, merge with a synergistic partner, make a strategic acquisition, or create a succession plan. Rock can be reached by email at Rock@RockLaManna.com.