Should You Leave Your Business?

Why would any sane person give up a thriving business? If I had a nickel for every time I’d been asked this question, I’d have at least enough change to buy a few lattes… or one really good glass of celebratory wine. And trust me, I did a lot of celebrating when I sold a couple of my businesses this past year. Not because I didn’t love them, not because I felt burdened by them, and certainly not because they weren’t doing well–far from it.

There is so much reward in maintaining a business and striving to be the best leader I can, to contribute as much as possible and hopefully inspire my team to go on and do wonderful things in the world. But for me, there is also a huge thrill in creating something new, breathing life into it, and then letting go of it so it can live independently of me while I go on to create again. And how cool is it, that I can build a beautiful business, sell it, and see someone else do wonderful things with it?

Dear readers, my very last episode of The New Entrepreneur is about this very subject.

I’m excited to share this video with you, and yes, a little sad that it’s the last one. I had so much fun doing this series, and give my most heartfelt thank you to the whole team at Race to a Million for asking me to be part of this project and doing such a fabulous job of filming and editing these shows. If you missed the other episodes in the series, you can see them all here.

If you start a business, you may want to sell it someday. Maybe in a few months, maybe in a few decades. And there are all kinds of reasons you might want to do that–check out the video below to see what I mean. If you already have a business and are considering selling it, then you definitely want to see this video!

Action Steps for Success

  • Start with the end in mind: think about what you want to do with your business down the road. Are you trying to make as much money as possible? Are you leaving a legacy for loved ones?
  • Write down all the things you’ll need to do to make it happen: for example, if you want to sell on the open market, you’ll need to make your business as appealing to potential buyers as possible. What improvements do you need to make? Or, if you’re setting a family member up to take over the business, what skills do they need to learn, to make it thrive?
  • Get professionals involved, to appraise your business and make you aware of the legal issues at hand. Make sure you’re armed with the best information when you’re dealing with the complexities of exiting your business.
  • Keep focused on your intentions, and know that it may take some time to realize your ultimate vision. If you’re clear about it from the start, it makes it a lot easier.
13 Responses to Should You Leave Your Business?
  1. Hi Natalie,

    I had a business a number of years ago that my wife and I both worked at. We had more business than we could handle…we actually had to turn people away. But then, we adopted kids, and all of a sudden, I didn’t have time to work 12 hours a day. So, we stopped doing it, although I didn’t think of selling the business. Sometimes, one happy event leads to another, as in our case.

    Lou recently posted..Better Early Than Never…Late Is Good, TooMy Profile

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 10:01 pm

      Hi Lou,

      having more business than you can handle is usually a great problem to have! I can imagine the difficulty though, when you have children to consider :)

  2. Jayne Kopp
    October 3, 2011 | 9:46 am

    HI Natalie, well… when I was young I did sell a couple of small home businesses off and it paid well in that I was able to buy a house at a very young age.

    My most successful venture, sadly was sold due to unforeseen circumstances… divorce… and of course there was no planning for that.

    I think knowing what I know now, even that would have been planned for as you suggested.

    great advice for anyone starting a business whether they go into it thinking they may sell or not… its always best to have a plan in place and consider everything.


    Jayne Kopp recently posted..Setting an Intention vs. Setting a Goal | Is There a Difference?My Profile

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 10:00 pm

      Thank you Jayne – and I’m sorry to hear about your unexpected business sale! It’s certainly difficult for any of us to anticipate the worst happening so we can plan for it, yet your story is a very good example for all of us to be aware of. I appreciate you sharing.

  3. Angela C.
    October 3, 2011 | 10:02 am

    “But for me, there is also a huge thrill in creating something new, breathing life into it, and then letting go of it so it can live independently of me while I go on to create again.”

    I love that statement and it describes so well the passions of the visionary. I have always admired visionaries for their willingness to start at the ground level and walk away from their babies in order to start over. As someone who has never been a fan of change, I look at visionaries with awe.

    I tend to be more of a maintainer myself. I will take what’s already up-and-running and make sure it continues to move in the right direction, as well as make improvements (if needed) along the way.

    Angela :)

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 9:57 pm

      Thank you Angela! Nothing wrong with your approach at all… if you love maintaining and improving the day-to-day operations, then that’s exactly what you should be doing.

  4. Joyce Oladipo
    October 4, 2011 | 2:36 pm

    Not too sure if i want to create a business that i want to sell but love you advise. When I started my business a few years ago i wanted to create tribe of people that believe in my cause. I have a passion for what i do and i have a great team that supports me. If i really need to step down i will always be at the background.

    But still i will take note of your action steps. Thanks for sharing.

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 9:55 pm

      Thank you Joyce – I totally understand. I wholeheartedly encourage people to build a business they’re passionate about, so I get why you wouldn’t want to let go. My point is, if we can remove our egos from the equation and make ourselves replaceable, we not only give other people a chance to step up and shine, we give ourselves new opportunities – either to work on the business at a higher level, or to build something new :)

  5. Catarina Alexon
    October 6, 2011 | 7:43 am

    Excellent article and video Nathalie!! Like your style!!

    Exit strategies is an intelligent way of looking at it. Agree with your philosophy of building it up to a success and then moving on. Actually then it’s time to move on since you have succeeded with the challenge you took. Unless of course you start a company to work with your hobby for the rest of your life, or something like that.
    Catarina Alexon recently posted..What a wonderful surprise – Saudi women will vote!My Profile

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 9:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Catarina :) Yes, once the challenge of creating & building is over, that’s certainly when I start looking for the next big challenge! Although as you point out, the hobby business is definitely a valid approach for many people. Just not me… not yet, anyway.

  6. Radu
    October 7, 2011 | 1:50 am

    Hey Natalie,
    Coincidence or not I just watched few hours ago an interview with Sir Richard Branson. He was talking about the same thing. Grow a business until it gets stronger and then move on to something else.
    I personally enjoy variety and invest passion in different things.
    An entrepreneur is a creator and not necessarily a business manager. He creates new ideas, businesses and concepts. Being a creator it’s the most exciting thing :)
    I love your post:)
    Thanks for sharing,
    Radu recently posted..How to increase your productivity onlineMy Profile

    • admin
      October 11, 2011 | 9:50 pm

      Thank you Radu – Richard Branson is a great source of inspiration for so many entrepreneurs who want to make a difference… and it seems you and I are similar creatures… more interested in creating than managing day-to-day operations. That’s definitely where the juice is for me!

  7. Versatile Blogger Award « Grow With Stacy
    October 13, 2011 | 12:13 pm

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