I Just Sold My Business—Now What?

Selling your business is an intense process, one that requires months, sometimes years, of your time and effort. As an owner, you have no shortage of decisions to make and questions to ask when preparing your business for sale.

How can I improve my marketability to get the best offer?
What do I really want from the sale?
Who will I tell and when?

In fact, there are so many things to think about and do that many business owners fail to ask themselves one very important question:

What will I do once I sell my business?

It seems like an obvious question to address, but it’s easy to get caught up in the process without taking time to think about what your life will look like once you’re no longer a business owner.

We’ve spent the last few blogs discussing how to prepare your business for sale, and to close this series, we want to leave you with a few thoughts about preparing yourself for life after the sale.

Why Selling Your Business is About More Than Selling Your Business

On the surface, selling your business could be a purely financial or career-driven decision—but the reality is often more complicated. In fact, when we work with business owners, helping them transition into retirement is usually more difficult than the initial planning process. That’s because it’s not just a question of how you’ll manage your money (though that’s important), but of how you’ll spend your time.

Lots of business owners have been in their industry or trade for so long, it’s hard for them to imagine doing anything else. For years, their identity and worth has been defined by their work, and suddenly it’s no longer a part of their life. That’s a tough transition for some people.

Even if you don’t closely associate your identity or value with your work, selling your business drastically alters your life. Your routine changes, your daily interactions with people change, and unless you’re starting a new career or business, your time is no longer dictated by your work. That can feel incredibly exciting to some people, but for others, it’s intimidating.

How to Plan for Life After Ownership

The great thing for most business owners who decide to sell is that they have options. Depending on the terms of your sale and how much you sold your business for, you might be able to stay on part time (if you love what you do or the people you work with), completely retire, or even start a new venture. Some people are happy to spend their days traveling, playing golf, or being with family, but others get restless at the idea of facing every day like a Saturday.

You might have a very clear plan for your next steps, or you might have no idea what the future holds. But if you haven’t given it much thought and you suddenly find yourself facing an uncertain future, that can be unnerving. That’s why when we help business owners with a sale, we have long discussions about their post-sale plans. Not only do these discussions help you prepare emotionally for the road ahead, but they allow you to make practical decisions about your finances.

Once you know whether you want to fully retire, start a new business, or do something else, you can invest your money accordingly. You’ll also need to update your estate plan and make sure the other components of your financial world are in line with your goals

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to know everything about the next ten or twenty years of your life, or that you can’t change your mind later. You might even spend the first few months post-sale simply enjoying your time freedom before you decide your next steps. The point is that you know your life is going to change dramatically, and that you start thinking about those changes as soon as you can.

Asking the Right Questions & Identifying Your Options

Like we said, selling your business means major life change. You might not know what questions to ask or even what your options are. That’s why it’s incredibly helpful to partner with professionals who have your best interest at heart. When we work with business owners, we help them contemplate their next steps, make sure they don’t overlook anything important, and consider each decision in light of their long-term goals. If you’re considering selling your business and want to discuss your next steps, we’d love to help! You can schedule a consultation with us by clicking the button below.