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Life After Selling Your Business – What Comes Next?

4 May 2022

Last week, we discussed the transitioning-out phase of selling your closely-held business. Now, it’s time to talk about what life looks like once you’re no longer involved in the business you spent so much time building and running.

Not very surprisingly, many entrepreneurs feel a profound sense of loss, which is perfectly natural. For much of your life has been about building, growing, and running this thriving business which no longer belongs to you.

It’s natural, too, to miss the activity, and especially the daily contact with your team, your clients, maybe even some of your vendors. These have represented a significant portion of your human interactions for a considerable time, and human interaction is a requisite for a contented life – at least, for most of us. And entrepreneurs want – need – to be active, on a daily basis. That’s part of what makes us entrepreneurs.

So it’s important to have a plan to replace what you’ll miss with what you’ll enjoy.

Your plans should start when you first contemplate selling your business, if not, indeed, much earlier. The better and more thought-out your plan, the less likelihood of your obsessing, without activity, over your loss – and this does happen to entrepreneurs after they sell their businesses, all too often.

We want you to be able to avoid that.

And it’s never too early, or too late, to start.

Some things which can help you ease into your new life:

  • Spend quality time with your family – an extended, shared vacation to a place you’ve never visited but have always wanted to see can provide both adventure and reinforced bonds in your most important relationships.
  • Reconnect with old friends and make new plans to enjoy their company.
  • If you’ve hobbies you are active in, consider a new level of involvement and commitment.
  • If you haven’t, are there any hobbies you’ve wanted to cultivate? This is the time to do so.
  • New employment is always a possibility – roughly 40% of entrepreneurs start new businesses after selling their old ones.
  • Become a youth mentor if that’s something which appeals to you.
  • Join boards of other companies, whether for- or non-profit.
  • Volunteer to do work for your favorite charity – this can be a great avenue for new action, especially if your charity has need of service within your areas of expertise. One client of ours became a museum docent after retirement and found it very rewarding.

What’s important is that you recognize the potential fall-out of selling your business, your baby (maybe selling your business is slightly analogous to seeing your children grown and independent) and taking steps to avoid sinking into sadness over what you no longer have.

Focus on what you do have and what you are grateful for:

  • A lot more capital than you had before you sold, and, if the purchase price includes payments over time, more to come.
  • The luxury of time, even if you must fill it. Because you can now choose to fill it as you like, with family, friends, travel, community involvement, starting a new business.

This last point is important, because it’s that very time which can weigh so heavily on entrepreneurs, once they’ve sold.

So, make sure you fill that time with joy, and joyous activity. You still have a cornucopia of opportunities available to you – make use of them with gusto and delight. And, if you dig deep, you do have unmet goals, unfulfilled ambitions, even if they aren’t business oriented.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t have sold your business, because, if what you really wanted was to keep running your business, no offer was too good to refuse.

Remember that, breathe, and embrace your new, open horizons.

If you are considering any potential sale of your business, I recommend strongly that you consult with us before making any major decisions – and the sooner the better, as the process of selling a closely-held business can take a year, and sometimes longer.

Please click here to let me know how I can help you.

Until next time –

Peace,

Eric

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