OK, Consider This

It has come to me many times over the years that I have worked with, coached, consulted, taught and trained small business owners, that we keep on skirting the issue. The heart of the matter. The core, essential, absolutely undeniable, but seemingly forever avoidable, fact that their business is not going anywhere. That their business is stuck in a vicious cycle. That they continue to put their time and their heart and their muscle and their energy, and that hopes into their business, daily, hourly, by the minute, every single second, and yet, despite the changes that occur (they seem like changes, but they are not really changes) life goes on, they get older, and their business continues to wrench out a passable living, a sense of liberation from having to work for somebody else, but, without a doubt, their business is not really, going anywhere, it is stuck, as I said, in a routine that has been shaped by the owner’s unwillingness to face it head on, and to ask himself or herself the critical question (this is the critical question everyone is avoiding): “What is this going to be when it’s finally done? What’s going to happen to my business at the end of it? What will that mean to my loved ones?”

I know, what in the world am I saying this for? What in the world can I be thinking of to ask such an impractical, depressing question?

Why is this question so important after all? And how in the world can anyone answer a question like this?

Well, consider this.

Generously said:

More than 80 percent of the business owners in your industry will be out of business before they reach their 10th anniversary.

Fewer than 5 percent of the people who own their own business will be able to retire by age 70 ? there will simply be nothing to retire with. (No, this is not a social security issue; it’s a planning issue, an awareness issue, a personality responsibility issue.)

Most of the owners in your industry will spend 80 percent of their time at work, doing work that they could pay someone else to do, for $15 an hour or less. In short, most owners are working for minimum wage 80 percent of time and don’t even know it.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point . . . if you’re willing to, that is.

That today, at this very critical moment, you have a choice to make. You will either ignore the obvious and go to work doing what you did yesterday and the day before, and the day before that, and get exactly what you’ve gotten in return for it . . . as the time goes on, as the time runs out, as the time for a choice becomes unavailable . . . or, you will stop and take notice that there is only one reason an entrepreneur ? the one who invents a business as opposed to the one who goes to work in a business ? starts a business of his or her own. And that is, to sell it.

When are you going to sell your business?

Who are you going to sell it to?

How much are you going to sell your business for?

Those are the questions I’m suggesting you ask, right now, right this very minute, and come face to face with the fact that you haven’t asked those questions seriously before now, and, low and behold, even as I stress the reason why you must ask those questions right now . . . you won’t do it!

But, in case you want to, let me know, and I’ll give you a process for doing it.

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