It’s been quite a ride. You’ve started, lovingly nurtured, and competently managed your business for years. And now you are preparing to sell your company. But, then what? Is it time to ride off into the retirement sunset and turn your back on the business world? Or are you ready to begin your next professional challenge? Or is now the right time to pursue your lifelong passion?
Will You Stay or Will You Go?
Selling your business and leaving your business may be two different things. You may want to sell your controlling interest in the business but remain on the payroll under the new owner. If you decide to stay, your expertise in running and growing your company can be an asset that positively influences your business valuation.
Whether you remain with the company through the transition period or for a longer term, showing the new owners the ropes can help facilitate a smooth transfer and ensure success. It does require discipline on your part, however. The new leadership team will have their own way of doing things. Their decisions may not reflect yours. Giving up that control can be difficult, and if you’re unwilling or unable to make the transition from decision maker to team player, sticking around may not be the right call for you.
Building your business took a lot of time and attention. As an entrepreneur, you put in long hours and made sacrifices to bring your company to life and to achieve sustainable success. Before you dive into your next adventure – whether it be a new professional challenge, a new business idea, or something else entirely – give yourself some space to decompress.
If you’ve opted to stay on with the company under its new ownership, don’t overlook this step. Take some time off. Don’t leap from one phase to the next without it. You deserve some breathing room to adjust to your new life and settle into your new mindset.
Professional or Passion?
Your next endeavor doesn’t need to reflect the path you’ve just traveled. While plotting your next move, consider whether or not you want to pursue another professional project. You may opt instead to devote your time, attention, and talents to a non-profit. The skills you’ve been nurturing as a business owner can be a great asset to an organization that helps a cause you care about.
Conversely, you now may be excited about building another business, or diving into an established company, or lending your support to someone else’s start-up. Just like you did your due diligence before you launched and sold your business, follow the same steps to evaluate and define this next stage of your career.
This may be a great time to reinvest in hobbies that were neglected while you focused on your business. It’s also a good time to flesh out the new ideas you’ve been mulling. This can be a daunting task. Don’t feel like you need to go it alone. A mentor or a business coach can help you work through this process of reinvention and rediscovery.
Develop a Transitional Plan
After selling your company, it can be easy to lose focus and let this season of great potential and change slip away. Rather than start your new life with no roadmap, strategy, or schedule, create a plan for the first six months of your post-business-owner life. Give some structure to your days and set goals to help you move to the next exciting stage. Take the time to re-establish your priorities and tend to other areas of your life you may have put on the back burner.
Just remember that you are the one in control. The decisions you make at this time will have a tremendous impact on your next exciting chapter, so take the time to study your options and make a selection that is right for you, your goals, and your family.