More and more entrepreneurs I talk to are looking at ways to exit their businesses – not necessarily now, but over time, and with the highest possible price and the maximum possible control (over both their company and the transition process) right up till the end.
But you can't always get what you want. The demographics of the baby-boom bulge dictate that there will more sellers than buyers – and you know what happens when that happens.
Last month I wrote a feature for PROFIT Magazine on the upcoming succession crisis. It’s worth your attention, not just because of the problem it creates for retiring owners, but also for the opportunities it will generate for anyone on the buy side.
You can access the story, “The trillion dollar trap,” here.
For those who hate clicking through, here are the first few paragraphs:
“It's September 2012. You wake up one morning, drink your Starbucks energy juice, and check the digital news on your iPod. When you see that the price of oil has just passed US$100 a barrel, you decide that's enough. It's time you enjoyed the fruits of building your business. You message your accountant and tell her you want to sell. Then you call up an ad for an around-the-world cruise.
But your accountant throws cold water on your dream of worry-free years in the sun. You've left it too late, she says. Your staff are not ready to run the business without you—and at the shape your books are in, you'll never get top dollar. Even worse: tens of thousands of entrepreneurs—most of whom are baby boomers seeking retirement—are trying to sell their businesses at the exact same time. If you had started planning for this back in 2005, you might be able to afford something better than a time-share in Moose Jaw.”
For more guilt-ridden crisis-mongering, click here.
(By the way: when I wrote that in early August, $100-a-barrel oil seemed quite science fictionous. Funny how the future catches up.)