Successfully selling a business is a remarkable achievement for any entrepreneur. When you sell a business that you have poured your life into, you arrive at a unique opportunity to use your wealth and your time however you choose. On the surface, this may sound like perfection. However, navigating what to do after selling a business can be more challenging than many realize.
Because, of all the seasons and stages in the journey of an entrepreneur, the period that comes after a successful business sale receives comparatively little attention. The vast majority of stories shared and advice gleaned center on the struggles of entrepreneurs growing a business. Much less voice is given to the entrepreneur’s journey through the transition after selling that business and what happens next.
In this article we will take a look at how entrepreneurs can balance the opportunities presented by a successful business sale and the challenges of navigating the next season.
5 Things To Do After Selling a Business
Have a Plan
Have at least a short-term game plan that will provide structure, routine, & intellectual stimulation. No need to overthink it, but be intentional. Consider how you will manage your newfound freedom, whether it is freedom around your time or your finances. (It will likely be both.)
Something Old, Something New
Try new activities, but also enjoy focusing on what you are already good at. The opportunity to try something completely new is one of the most exciting parts of life after selling a business. However, remember that your expertise and reputation from your past business will provide valuable opportunities you may enjoy just as much.
Remember What Matters to You
Many factors that influence what to do after selling a business will be unique to each entrepreneur, like health and family, and whether you still have the entrepreneurial drive. What matters most to you? Remember WHY you sold your business. Was it to retire? Was it to invest in a new opportunity? To start a new business? To spend time with family? To travel more or less? Remember your why and make it a priority.
Remember Who You Are
It is wise to anticipate this common experience: many entrepreneurs go through a loss of identity and community that business ownership provided. Be prepared for this, consider looking into communities of other post-sale entrepreneurs, and remember that your network is still your network.
Protect Your Proceeds
Seek wealth management guidance. You will need to revisit plans for personal finances that were in place prior to the sale and adjust for your new reality. Proper guidance from experienced professionals can help ensure that your hard work in starting, building, and selling your business will provide a lasting benefit for you and your family.
Research shows that for about half of entrepreneurs, it’s best to take time to rest and recharge mentally and physically before making any big decisions. But for just as many, planning is important. According to a study by Coutts, approximately 40% of business owners who went into their sale with no plans said they regretted not planning more. It seems that, for many, the biggest challenge is the sudden change from a demanding business environment (and intense business selling process) to life post-sale.
In the months and weeks leading up to the sale, try to carve out time with family, to dip your toes into a new hobby, and to reconnect with friends outside of your role as business owner. Regardless of your reasons for selling your business, this is an exciting time. At Viking, over half of our senior advisors have been business owners themselves, and we are here to share not only our professional expertise, but our personal experience as well. If you are considering selling your business, whether soon or sometime down the road, contact Viking today. We are here to help.