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What’s Next?

Posted by on 10 September 2013 | Comments

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Business owners deal with this question daily.  It can be the question asked when a significant account is landed and there is now a need to figure out how to deliver.  It can be the question asked in exasperation when a series of unfortunate events happen in rapid succession.

It is also the question asked after the sale of a business.  Better yet, ask it before the sale.

During Beacon’s initial meeting with a prospective seller, we always ask, “What are you planning to do after you sell the company?”

We sometimes get fascinating answers about long deferred adventures, crossing off items on the Bucket List or touching answers about spending time with family.  Most of the time we get an unsure look and “it depends on whether the buyer wants me to stick around or not”.

After years of being an entrepreneur, suddenly owners are willing to do what someone else wants?  To quote my 11 year old, “Really?”

Be proactive about your post-sale role in the company and consider:

  • Whether you want to remain in the company in a specific aspect outside of day-to-day management. The sale can be an opportunity to remain with the business in a role you enjoy such as sales, product development or strategic planning.
  • How long you would be willing to work, how many hours per week/month and at what compensation.
  • If you want to continue to work in a different aspect of your industry, consider what carve outs you may want in the non-compete agreement, which will allow you to undertake these other activities, and work them into the deal upfront.

The answer to “what’s next?” can change the sale of the business in many ways.  In most cases, having the owner remain with the business is attractive to buyers.  Your presence can enhance the value of the business while you continue to work at something you love without all the ownership responsibilities, on a schedule you negotiate in advance.

Knowing the answer to what comes next for an owner after the sale can provide piece of mind for a major life transition and add to the value of the business.