Business tips: Selling up and moving on – what happens next?

Once you’ve sold your business and have received the funds from the sale, you’re then faced with a big question: what happens next?

After guiding the helm of your company, it will be tough to let go. But if the circumstances are right, there’s no reason why exiting the business should be a sad occasion. You’ve built a stable business and personal legacy. You’ve employed a team of talented people and helped them drive their careers. And you’ve brought your products and/or services to a satisfied and loyal customer base.

So, how will you now focus your time and effort? Let’s look at your options…

Retire and live out the entrepreneur’s dream

After many years of hard work, worries and stress, the thought of a business-free lifestyle may well be appealing. But retirement isn’t for everyone. If you have thrived on the pressure, challenges and excitement of being the captain of your business ship, retiring may seem like a step away from the action.

On the flipside, the allure of a more relaxed lifestyle may be strong. With the proceeds from your sale, you should be in a position to make you, your family and those around you very comfortable. It may be that the entrepreneur’s dream of building a business, selling up and retiring to a hot climate is your idea of perfection.

Stay involved in the business

Even though you don’t own the business anymore, it doesn’t mean you have to step away completely from the company. You could remain involved in the business in some capacity, allowing you to ‘keep your hand in’ and support the future course of the business.

For example, you could become:

A joint partner in the business – you could sell a part share in the business and work as a joint partner with your new investor. This allows you to free up some capital, while maintaining an element of control and influence.
An external adviser or consultant – you could advise the new owner and their board as an outside adviser. After all, who knows this business better than you? Becoming a consultant could well be an astute move and keeps you in the loop with the future path of the business – while charging out a consultancy fee as an added benefit.
A non-executive director (NED) – you could join the board as a NED and use your personal experience to help guide and support the new owner and their board. If that’s the route you choose, it’s a good idea to retain some shares in the business, so you have a vested interest in the company’s performance and your own share value.
An informal adviser to your family – if you’re handing the business down to the next generation of your family, they will almost certainly want your advice. You’ve been through the ups and downs of setting up the business, so you’re in the best position to give your family the guidance and tips they need to run a smooth operation.
Set up a new business

With so much experience behind you, it could be that you’re itching to start the whole business cycle again. If you’ve got the ideas, the capital and the motivation to start another new business, this can be a new and rewarding challenge to get your teeth into.

First time around, you’ll have been a little green and less aware of the many pitfalls of founding a new business. You’re now better prepared and more knowledgeable about what’s required from a founder and business leader. We learn plenty from our mistakes, so you’re in a great position to return to the business cycle again with a new idea.

As with any new businesses venture:

Make sure you have a detailed breakdown of your business idea
Write an in-depth business plan that maps out your journey
Ensure you have the funding to get this idea off the ground
Be prepared for a period of hard work and lower income before the company takes off.
Do your bit for charity and your community

We all have interests and causes that are close to our heart, so supporting charities and community projects in these areas is a great way to use your money for long-term good.

Donating money to your chosen charity or social enterprise is also a triple whammy:

You get to provide funding to causes that are close to your heart
You can be philanthropic and help people who are in challenging situations
You get the positive impact of tax breaks for donating to charity.
You also have the option of putting your own time into working with these charitable causes. You can use your expertise and experience to guide them, help with fundraising or provide hands-on support at events, community projects or lobbying the Government for greater support.

The end of the road, or a new chapter?

Once the business is sold and you close your office door for the last time, you take a step into the unknown. But with so many varied and valuable options to choose from, your life post-exit need never be boring or predictable.

The potential is there for an exciting new venture, or the pleasure of relaxing in the sunshine by the pool. It’s up to you to define the next chapter in your life and your business career.

If you’re thinking about exiting your business, please do get in touch. We’ll help you plan your exit strategy, add value pre-sale and choose the best options for your personal future.

Talk to us about your next step.