Are there some decisions you may be contemplating or worrying about when you should be sleeping?
- Slow down or jump back in with both feet?
- Sell the business or close the doors?
- Sell to a third party or to your children?
- Retire now or in ten years?
- Take more time off and control less or double down?
- Hire a general manager or take on a partner?
- Grow the business, maintain status quo, or downsize?
There is no secret formula for making these decisions. No one-size-fits-all solution. No simple way of coming to a confident conclusion. It depends on a number of factors:
- Is your business profitable, breaking even or losing money?
- Are you in a business that is growing and sustainable or one that is being diminished by government policies, tariffs, a shrinking market, or disruptive technology?
- Is your business evolving and hard to predict, traditional and flat, or old and shrinking?
- Do you have a unique product or service that people want? Is it hard to sell or do you have customers lining up at your door?
- Do you have employees and managers who are responsible, proactive and committed? Can you go on vacation without worrying about what will happen while you’re gone?
- Do you have suppliers, including banks that will support you through a transition? Should you consult them on how they will respond to a change of ownership?
- Do you have a good mix of customers – none of whom make up more than 30% of your business?
- Do your children have the interest and skills necessary to take over the business?
While there may be hundreds of questions that help clear the fog, only a few will be important for you as you make your decision. Do you know what they are? Some unearth logical, objective, factual information and others clarify the emotional tugs.
The questions that uncover emotional responses can be heavy. They may overpower the logic; you recognize that your decision doesn’t make sense but you still want to do it anyway! Get those questions on the table so you can examine the decisions in the clear light of day.
If you have trouble coming up with the questions or developing honest answers, you might consider working with a coach – someone who can ask those tough questions and encourage you to consider them from many angles. Reviewing those decisions with the help of experts makes it much easier to come to the right conclusion.