Interview: Bored Business Owner Steps Back Rather Than Sells Out
Business owners that have become bored or frustrated with their business have a range of solutions. They can:
- Close down the business (drastic!)
- Pass it on to other family members
- Put it up for sale
- Go on a course to spur up new ideas, new connections
- Remove themselves from the day to day running
- Do nothing and become more and more unhappy
After twenty years of owning the successful Green Board Game Company, owner Gary Wyatt felt bored and thought the time had come to sell. Gary explained that he “fell out of love with the original idea.”
When asking Gary how he found the process emotionally he said, “I went to a “free” consultation with a particular business sales consultancy and had follow-up meetings with them. I was not overly impressed with the consultant allocated to my business. It seemed that they didn’t care what business I had. It was all numbers based. Their approach was to try and create an auction by telling everyone they could find that the business was up for sale. ‘Another brick in the wall’ sprang to mind.”
Gary went on to explain, “Emotionally, I really didn’t like this as I had spent a long time building the business. It had my personality and love in the products and I wasn’t prepared to sell it in such an impersonal way. I had visions of the Pink Floyd video with mincemeat coming out of the production line.”
As a result, last year Gary decided against selling and instead installed a full time Managing Director. Since the transition Gary has selected the tasks he enjoys, reduced his time at the office and has successfully groomed the MD to push the company forward. He now spends his time the way he wants and has eradicated the not-so-fun business management tasks. When asked if he’s happy with his decision, Gary comments, “I couldn’t be happier.”
Before finishing the interview, I asked Gary what he would have done differently, and this was his response:
- Thought through whether I really wanted to sell the business
- Analysed what I would do with my time more thoroughly
- Found a more empathetic business sales consultant
- Talked to people who had gone through the process
- Researched likely purchasers myself
When first considering a sale, there are quite a few things to take in, and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up with one train of thought. If you’re bored, disillusioned or simply tired of managing the business there are alternatives to selling out. Aside from bringing in an MD or management team you could also consider going on a business growth course. Sometimes an injection of new ideas and new connections can recharge your enthusiasm.
Sometimes it’s a matter of paying more attention to what you enjoy and how to get back to that versus what you don’t particularly enjoy. And then take action to redress the balance. I remember times during our business growth spurt when I felt that my passion in the business was being sucked into HR and growing pain challenges and issues. I became bored and frustrated, thinking I was stuck. I blamed it on necessary management tasks but I realised in time that while growing the business it gave me the opportunity to develop people to work in the business so I could get back to working on the business which I loved doing.
The message is this – if you’re bored or feel frustrated there are solutions! Hopefully this interview has given you some food for thought.
Joanna Miller helps business owners navigate their way through the start to finish process of selling a business. Her specialty is helping owners understand how to prepare and make the most of their business sale process to maximise their company’s value. To understand how you can sell your business quickly for the highest sales price, purchase her book, “How To Sell A Business: The #1 guide to maximising your company value and achieving a quick business sale”