Some people say the purpose of starting a business is to eventually sell it. The reason that I started a business is to have the freedom to decide what to do with my future. I may decide to work until I die, to leave a legacy for my family, to hire someone to manage it and produce some passive income, to franchise it, or I could have the freedom to sell it.
As I review some of the options referenced above, two requirements for any of the options are to FINISH my business, and to create a profitable commercial enterprise that WORKS WITHOUT ME. These two concepts go hand and hand because once I finish my business, it will be able to work whether I am present or not. Let me give you an example: Let us say I own two buildings, both in the same part of town, one right next to the other. I decide that I want to sell one of them. Which one will have a higher value? Building A, which is finished, painted and ready to move in, OR building B, which is half-way through the drywall phase, and still requiring painting and finishing touches? We can all agree the former is far more valuable than the latter. Why? Because it is finished! Just like the building, my business is also an asset, and it will be more valuable once I finish it. Whether I am going to sell it, hand it down to my kids, or hire a general manager for it, I would be better off by first finishing the asset.
Before I go into what it means to “finish a business,” let me give you one more example. Imagine that I am running a somewhat successful business, I am getting a bit tired and I now have the bug to sell my business and retire. As I meet with a business broker to check what the process would be, I come to the sad realization that I Am My Business! I am the only one who knows details about my clients, my suppliers, how to process orders, and my financials; I have all this information in my head! If I were to sell my business, I would have to include myself in the sale. Everything about my business revolves around me. The broker flat out told me that as is, what I would be selling is my business assets and my database. The broker also suggested that I hire a business coach, develop a clear vision, SMART goals, marketing and sales strategies, build a team, develop a business plan, and create processes. In other words, this is what it means to “finish a business,” so that it can WORK WITHOUT ME. He also estimated that I would be increasing the sale price of my business somewhere between 5X-10X from what I would receive if I sold as is.
Basically it comes down to this: if I want the freedom to decide what to do with my business, I need to finish it, which in turn creates a profitable business that can work whether I am present or not.
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