REACHING THE TOP can be exciting … but it’s also a lonely place. I’ve actually found that the fear of reaching goals can hold people back.

Because when you reach the top, what’s next?

I happen to believe that it’s the business equivalent of the “mid life crisis.” Is this all there is? Wasn’t life supposed to be glorious by now?

This is a common phenomenon with business owners I’ve worked with who are looking to retire. Quite often, they’ve had a vague picture in their mind for thirty years where someone was going to walk up and hand them $10 million to take the company off their hands.

Or $100 million. Some really big number.

You know what? This doesn’t happen without some planning and focus. Just like everything else you’ve done in your business.

The process of valuation and sellability is a big chunk of the process. Even if you’re five years away from retirement, go talk with a valuation expert in your industry. You’ll learn a ton.

That gives you a solid baseline, but … then what? That’s where many have found it useful to work with a business coach, because there are lots of directions you could take things. Examples include:

  • Shut the business down entirely
  • Become employee-owned
  • Sell to some on your leadership team
  • Be acquired by a competitor
  • Become a differentiator for someone who’s a partner

There are a lot more possibilities, but it really comes down to a powerful question: What do you want the company to become without you?

Answering that question can take substantial time and deep thought. But it may be the most important question you’ll answer this decade.