I recently listened to a man in his 70’s who has been rather successful in business tell a group of other business junkies that he hopes to give away all of wealth over the next ten years and die, essentially, a pauper. This is a man who understands that he can’t take it with him and by giving his wealth away, he’s building for himself treasures in heaven.
All business owners will leave their business. There’s only three ways to leave a business: liquidate, sell or die. Obviously, the preferred way to leave a business is through a sale of the business – that way, you’ll maximize the value for yourself and family and give your employees the greatest chance of having a job after the sale. If you liquidate, you’re either declaring bankruptcy or purposefully shutting down the business – but either way – you’re not extracting the value of the business itself. And if you die, while your heirs may be able to sell the business, it will be worth much less because you’re no longer in the picture.
How we finish our business matters – just like how we finish our lives matters. This is not a topic that many business owners look at, but it is a topic that they will be forced to confront at some point. So, several points to consider:
- The earlier you start to plan your exit, the more likely it is that you’ll extract the maximum value from your business
- The earlier you start to plan your exit, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to plan a good transition to “what’s next” in your life
- The earlier you start to plan your exit, the more likely it is that your employees will also experience a good transition
When you leave your business, it should be planned and part of a transition that takes you to the next adventure to which God has called you. In my friend’s case, it is planning for his eventual leaving of this earth without hoarding his wealth. He’s giving himself ten years. He’ll use it as God directs him to further the Kingdom of God. Regardless of the amount, this man is successful in business and life.