One of the most important topics we cover at our exit planning conferences is the idea of what your business represents to you. Is it merely a job? For some, it is a hobby. Others see it as who they are and self-identify closely with it (making a transition away challenging).
What we try to convey to our attendees is this: Your business is an investment, pure and simple. And you need to see it as such.
If you see it only as your job, you usually will not be thinking strategically or long-term at all. You might only be looking as far ahead as the next payroll. For some smaller businesses, this is a sad reality. However, if you ever want to grow beyond this into another dimension of your businesses life, you have to force yourself to see the company as a true investment.
Likewise, if it is a hobby, you are most likely not considering the longer term. Now if you are financially independent and have inherited great wealth that will tide you over for the rest of your life, then treating it as a hobby is probably OK. But are YOU in that position? And sadly, given the myriad of things beyond your control (such as your health), what could happen to your life savings if something unfortunate were to happen? Realizing that your “hobby” is an investment is vital.
Finally, far too many business owners see their business as an extension of themselves and the idea of ever departing – much less handing the reins over to a third party – is almost impossible to consider. For the sake of business continuity, your key employees, your customers and most importantly, your family, you need to step back and ask yourself, “Where do I personally want to be in X years?” (X is fully dependent on you and where you are in life.)
Even though it gives you great pleasure to be the one unlocking the doors at 5:00 a.m. every morning and the one closing down at 7:00 p.m., and despite the fact that your ego is stroked every time one of your employees comes to you for the umpteenth time with a question that should not have gone to you (if you had a middle-management team), the reality is that your business is an investment, like any other you make.
Have you ever calculated your return on investment (ROI) on this “stock” you have bought in your company? Do you have a target return that you want to reach before you exit? Odds are you have never even considered this.
Because you have fallen into the trap of NOT seeing your business as the investment it is in your financial future; not only for you, but for your family. You are seeing it as a job, a hobby, or your personal identity. Frankly, this could be the most serious financial mistake you will ever make.
Fortunately, Generational Equity and our team of exit planning professionals are here to help. Most of us have been working with entrepreneurs and their families for close to 30 years. This experience has taught us that the most important thing we can do is shake your thinking loose and help you consider that your business is the single largest investment you will ever make.
Getting back to the ROI question, the second reason you have never done this calculation is because you are missing the largest piece of the equation: Your company’s value.
If you don’t know this number, you have no idea what your ROI might be because this is the key item used to make that calculation. If you dig deep enough in your financials, you can probably find the total equity listed in last year’s balance sheet. That might equal what you paid into the company over the years, but will not account for the “blood, sweat, and tears” that have gone into it.
If you are not looking at your company as an investment vehicle, you need to attend a Generational Equity executive exit planning conference. Spending a day with us is an excellent ROI in terms of your time. To learn more follow these links:
And perhaps this client’s input summarizes why attending our conferences are so important to business owners:
To learn more, feel free to give me a call at 972-232-1125 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And no matter what, begin to consider the notion that your company truly is an investment.
By Carl Doerksen, Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.
© 2017 Generational Equity, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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