The Business Edge Blog

October 19, 2012

For Sale: Your Business – but for how much? Part 1

In the beginning it was just you – and maybe a partner or two.  The business ran on blood, sweat and tears, with some heart and soul thrown in – and a chunk of your personal financial resources as well.

It’s no surprise that when the time comes to sell the business and retire, some owners just aren’t prepared.

The emotional investment is why it’s so difficult for most people to sell their business.  Sometimes a valuation produces a figure that is only a percentage of what the owner is expecting and needs for retirement.

How can you increase profitability and make it more desirable for a buyer, make it more transferable, and help convince the buyer that the business will remain intact post-transfer?  Front Range Business Inc, a Boulder-based brokerage firm that facilitates selling owner-operated businesses suggests engaging a business coach.

They cite many examples where a business coach has helped to double the value of a business over a twelve month period.  The work I do with my clients – either for their own growth or in preparation for sale – includes the same work Front Range Business Inc recommends; formalizing and documenting processes; creating employee, service and other procedure manuals; staff training; and most important of all, working ON the business, not FOR (or IN) the business.  Owners typically are so caught up in the day-to-day operations that they overlook the big picture.  Owners need to focus on marketing, training and where they want to take their business, then plan the route that will get their business to the final destination: a successful and profitable sale.  I suggest that my clients keep their exit plan in mind as they make decisions years prior to their planned retirement date.

When owners start thinking about an exit there are a number of big questions to consider.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 where I’ll cover these questions and other considerations!

Feel free to comment on your thoughts about preparing your business for sale by posting your thoughts below.

Until next time – Remember to mind your business!

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July 12, 2011

What Would You Do If You Could Retire?

What would you do if you could retire?

First I’m a Business Coach.  That means I help clients develop their business to meet their goals.  My clients have led me to become a Retirement Transition Coach.  Once we get their business up and running efficiently and they have the option to begin to think about retirement they need help in planning their retirement.

Some of my clients are looking to retire in their 50’s.  For men that means they could easily live 30 years in retirement.  For women the odds are they will live even longer.  This next phase of life is something you need to plan for.  Check out the Fortune magazine June 13th Special Investor’s Issue that includes an article by Paul Keegan, Do You Need A Retirement Coach?  My clients agree that they do!

So, let’s say that your business is going well.  You have worked with a great financial planner and you feel like you could start to think about retiring from a financial perspective.  What will you do?

Some of my clients can answer within a split second.  I’ll golf every day.  I will travel.  I’ll write that book.  I will garden.  Wow, great answers.  In most cases they are looking forward to spending more time doing something they enjoy but can’t find enough time to do now because of work.  Great place to start.

But back to business, what is it that motivates you in your business?  Is it decision making?  Is it developing creative solutions to complex problems?  Is it providing great work for great employees?  Is it serving customers?  Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?  What is important for you to feel complete and validated while you are in business will still be a part of you in retirement.

I work with my clients to determine what their motivators are and find ways to stay motivated and fulfilled in their retirement years.

Do you know what makes you feel fulfilled?  Are you getting fulfilled in your current work?  What will it be in retirement that helps you to feel fulfilled?  Yes, golf and tennis, but what after that?

Share your ideas below.  You may just find a new golf partner in someone else’s response!

March 15, 2011

Is Retirement Your Goal?

Work, work, work…..Retire – Then What?

If you are a business owner, chances are you could work 20 or more hours a day.  Your business pays the bills and (hopefully) provides you with the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to.  Being a business owner is who you are.  Your identity is tied to your work. 

When people ask you what you do, most of us respond with what our work is.  Have you considered what your response will be once you retire?  As I work with my clients and we define goals, many articulate retirement as one of their major life goals.  I’ve noticed that when I pose the question of “What does retirement look like” the most common response is “I don’t have to work”.  The response comes with a smile and a dreamy look in their eyes.  It truly is something that people look forward to achieving.  Most would rather have retirement come sooner than later.  Some of my clients measure their retirement timeframe with dates or retirement ages or investment account values in mind.  Retire at 60, retire in 2012, retire when I can sell my business for $xxx or when I have $xxx in net worth.   

This all sounds great so, as a business coach, what am I concerned about?  I like my clients to have goals.  I know they are working hard to achieve this retirement one.  I’m normally very pleased when a) my clients can articulate a goal, b) it is measurable by time or value, and c) they are actually working toward it.  I should be elated!  Actually I am, for the work they are doing.

My concern comes for what I see as a potential cliff at retirement.  Some of my clients don’t have hobbies – they work too much.  Some of my clients don’t take vacations – they don’t have systems in place that keep the business working while they are away.  Some of my clients don’t have quality family time – they are exhausted when they finally stop working for the day or the week.  Retirement looks great because they won’t have to work.  But, retirement – then what????

I’m walking the talk on this one.  I could work 20 hours a day.  When I started investing I developed a financial investment plan and my astute financial planner told me I should name it.  I did.  My plan has been “55 and Out” since I started investing.  I just realized that the magic “55” is within sight.  So, the question for me is……Retirement – Then What?

I will be sharing some of my journey with you as I find my way.  As my business tagline says, I’m the Headlights and Guardrails for Your Business, and in this case it just may be defining what Retirement looks like since it will affect your current business, or the new business of retirement……..  Stay tuned. 

Can you articulate what retirement means for you or what your dreams for retirement are?  Have you found the secret to being happy in retirement?  What concerns do you have about retirement?   Share your thoughts below.

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