Where are You Going to be in 5 Years?
By Matt Carle, Main Ascent Business Brokers and Advisors
Do you have a destination in mind?
I had a client tell me recently “I don’t ever see myself retiring.” My next question was what kind of work do you want to be doing in five years? He quickly told me he wanted to be able to keep pulse on his business finances, help develop systems, and make sure the business was growing on both the client and employee side. That answer instantly lined up with the vision we had built for his company, and it was a confirmation that we were on the right track with our work together. His clarity on that question took time for him to realize, he wasn’t always so sure what kind of work he wanted to do, or whether or not he’d continue to work into his 70’s and beyond.
This isn’t the case for everyone – there are plenty of people who want to move into retirement sooner rather than later, selling their business or passing it along to family is what fits best in their picture. So we build a plan for that – set up business systems that don’t rely on the owner, thinking about how to transfer roles and responsibilities to the staff and new owners. No matter what the owner wants to accomplish we can build a plan for it. And that is the point. As a business owner your business should support you in the life that you want to live.
The client this example has a clear picture of what he wants to do and how he wants to do it over the next few years, and it allows us to focus energy on building a business that allows him to do just that. Everything we decide to do gets measured against the question “Does this move you closer to your vision?” if it does then the decision is simple, if it doesn’t then we have to pause and evaluate the decision against those criteria. It’s almost binary – yes or no – does this move you closer to where you want to be?
Plenty of people change their mind along the way, deciding they’d like to stay on working for a while longer – or sometimes the decision to leave is made for them by circumstances outside their control. Having a plan and a goal that we’re working toward makes those kinds of changes easier to manage. It’s much easier to pivot and sell a business if it’s required when we’re already building a company that doesn’t rely on the owner to operate it successfully. Potentially changing your mind is not a reason to avoid planning, it’s a reason to get started.
Many business owners see their company as their one and only retirement plan, but don’t realize they are failing to maximize the value of their business until it’s too late. Long-term planning is invaluable, because you don’t want to find out it’s too late when you’re forced to walk away from the business. Focus on building a self-sustaining business and you’re more likely to hit the number you’d like to see when it’s time to sell.
A lack of a plan and a vision for the business filters through every aspect of the owner’s work, and it shows up for the staff as well. Often the owner’s lack of focus has a negative impact on the daily operations of the business, and instead of making progress toward a goal the business is simply treading water, or worse. Having a clear vision and a plan for how those items are going to be achieved is crucial, and it’s some of the owner’s most important work.
As a business owner you should be focused on building the future of your business that allows you to live your life on your terms. So, where are you going to be in five years?
Are you curious what your business is worth? Take this brief survey and we will provide you with a complimentary valuation with insights on how you can grow the value going forward. Whether you are planning to sell soon or years from now, we will give you insights from the market that will help you better understand:
- What your business is worth
- What key value drivers have the greatest impact on the business valuation
- What you can do to maximize your return on this all important investment
Each day you are making decisions that impact your future and these insights can help get the most from your business. Click here to take the Value Builder Survey.