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Are You Prepared to Leave the Business You Built?

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“Planning improves your chances for a successful outcome and gives you more control over the process,” Richardson-Mauro says. “We sometimes don’t realize just how much our lives revolve around our business – or we do realize it and don’t want to think about it because the future looks scary.”

With planning, you can ensure you still have a social life, a sense of accomplishment, challenges, and the other intangibles that make us satisfied and gratified.

• Identify what you want to get from your ownership transition. You’ll have both financial and non-financial goals and objectives. Financial may include receiving enough money to live on for the rest of your life and creating a foundation to further a cause important to you. Non-financial may include regaining balance in your life and following a passion you gave up when you started your business.

Consider goals in every area of life, the authors say, from health, to family, to social connections.

“This is about remembering your true passions, determining what’s most important to you, and deciding what you want to do when you can spend less or no time with your business,” Johnson says.

“This will re-energize you and provide you with direction as you figure out the best way to transition the ownership of your business. It will also enable you to minimize any chance for regrets.”

• Identify your fears, concerns and other barriers that prevent you from planning. Many owners fear what will come next and worry about losing their life’s purpose. Most wonder if they will have enough money to live the lifestyles they desire, and they’re concerned about their employees’ futures, Johnson says.

“Take proactive action to address these concerns by having a family meeting; discussing the future with your spouse; and identifying your actual financial needs. That will allow you to find solutions and work through them,” says Richardson-Mauro.

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