Lovers and Livers
Entrepreneurs go into business for different reasons.
Some go into business because they absolutely love what they do. They love to manufacture the product they sell or they love to sell stuff to people at retail or they love to serve people as lawyers or accountants or doctors or they just love to form teams of people and organize them so as to accomplish things. Selling their business never enters their minds, these lovers.
Lovers lead personal lives. They’re normal. But they are identified by their businesses. They think they would be incomplete somehow if they did not own them.
I had a client once whose business manufactured machine tools. Robert was about 70 years old and was showing me around the factory floor. He picked up a finished tool, held it up to the light and pointed out to me the subtle curves in the piece and how it had to be exactly that way to fit into the machine of which it was soon going become a part. He described how long it took to get it exactly right, the way it had to be. The man was an artist.
Robert was seventy years old but he didn’t really want to sell his business. His wife had become ill and he needed to be with her, so I was there to help him through the sale process. Robert was one of the lovers.
Then there are the livers. Livers are people who go into business in order to build a company of enough value so they can sell it someday and do what they really want to do with their lives. They want to retire young, say between 40 and 55, so they can write the great American novel or travel the world or spend quality time with their families or to finally master golf or fly fishing.
While business is important, for these livers it is a simply a means to an end. And many are driven enough to accomplish their objectives and end up building great companies that they sell for a lot of money. They often spend a few years helping the buyer, and then they are gone. Gone to fulfill other dreams.
Many of the great venture capitalists of our day previously built and sold businesses of their own. The got to the ripe of old age of, say 30, sold their businesses -sometimes for billions of dollars – and chose to spend the rest of their business lives helping others grow their companies so they could do the same thing. Life dreams take many forms.
Whichever type you are, your business is important to you, and when it comes time to sell, you’re going to want to do it right. I feel I understand business owners and what drives them. Allow me to come in and help you, lovers and livers, sort out your alternatives when it comes to orchestrating your exits. The exigencies of life will cause even the lovers of the business world to sell someday.
Livers and lovers, do not be caught unprepared. Whatever your age, learn what you can expect when you decide to sell your business. Planning for that event does not mean setting a date. Planning for that event means preparation. I can help you do that, starting with a realistic evaluation of what your business is worth and taking you through all the ins and outs of the sale process. Learn the vocabulary of deal doing. Do not be caught short. Confidence built on competence adds value.