What Do You Really, Really Want?

Monday, January 25 2021

When I meet business owners who are interested in preparing their companies for sale one of the questions I ask is, “Relative to selling your business, how do you define success?”

How do you define success?

  • I want to make enough money to retire and not worry about running short
  • I want to continue to work for the company but without the responsibility
  • I want to make sure all my loyal employees get a bonus and keep their jobs
  • I want to do it quickly and not have it drag on
  • I want my child to take over and pay me a monthly income for life

Of course almost everyone would like that, so I encourage them to be more specific.

Be specific

  • How much money would a worry-free retirement take? What other savings or assets do you have?
  • For how long and in what role do you want to work?
  • How much is the bonus and does it include problem employees?
  • How quickly? When do you want to start?
  • Does your child agree?

But, those represent mostly rational factors and logistics, and we know emotional reasons provide us with a stronger motivation for change. So look even deeper. What do you really, really want for your life?

Retirement Might Look Like:

  • A cottage on a lake so you can relax and have quality time with your kids and grandkids
  • A sailboat so you can explore the islands and feel free in the sun and the wind
  • A red Ferrari that you can show off to your old schoolmates who thought you were a nerd
  • A trip for your whole family to Africa
  • A chance to drive your RV from here to Costa Rica
  • Winning the over 65 category of the Boston Marathon
  • Joining the Eagles rock band and playing the keyboards (They’re still playing and apparently they keep bringing in new members)
  • Donating enough money to get your name on a plaque at the hospital. Maybe you want to be remembered as a person who gave back to the community

Only you can determine what your values are and decide whether they align with your stated goals and sub-goals.

Successfully selling your business is a great goal. It’s one every business owner should have – even if it is several years away. And if you want to get motivated to start the process, it’s better if you figure out now what you really really want.