How Do You Retire from Your Own Business?

Marshall Rathmell |

You have spent years building up your business. Through long days and weekends of work. Taking calculated risks to grow. Making your lifestyle secondary to the financial investment required by your business. You have experienced the personal and financial rewards of keeping your business afloat. You have experienced your business thriving. You have had many good years in your business with it being a big part of your identity.

How do you retire from a part of yourself? If you divide this into two thoughts, one would be how do I survive if I do not have my business to define my life and my daily activities. The other would be how do I extract sufficient value from my business to support myself and my family when I no longer work in the business.

Both of these thoughts deserve serious evaluation.

Let us look at getting value from your business first.

A business that can operate without you has more value than a business that is you. It’s important to begin working ON the business, rather than IN the business all the time, to develop processes and employees who can provide your product or service without you. 

One option is to market your business to an outside buyer. A larger company in your industry may find value in expanding to your territory or your customer base. This may even be someone you consider a competitor today.

A second option is to sell your business to an insider, someone in your business, an existing partner or employee who knows the ins and outs of your company and may want to step up and become an owner.

In either case, structuring your business for the transition is a multi-year project, involving a well thought out succession plan and building the value of the enterprise.

However you manage your business transition, it is essential to have your personal finances in order outside the business.

Now, on to the first thought, how do you personally transition from being defined by your business. It’s important to add some balance to your life while you are still building your business.  At some point, do these things:

  1. Set a hard stopping time each day. Sometimes this makes your work time more productive.
  2. Fill those hours not spent working with family and friends every week
  3. Explain to your family why you work long hours – what you hope to achieve. Explaining this to other may clarify your why for yourself.
  4. Build a work team and delegate to others

Building a business is a lifetime project. Realizing life after your business is a lifetime dream.

Seek the advice of professionals as you both grow and transition your business.