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I Just Sold My Company – Now What?

By Generational Equity

life after selling your company

As the owner of a privately held business the hardest transition you will ever make is from owner/operator to investor/wealth manager. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? In reality, for many entrepreneurs, the key conversion from owning a business to investing and living on the proceeds of the sale can be quite difficult.

It is for this reason we strongly recommend to our clients that they begin working with a wealth manager long before we close a deal for them. In fact, in many cases, it is actually wise to hire a financial planner even before you hire us.

An experienced financial consultant can ask you the most important questions like:

  • What do you want to do with the rest of your life after you sell your company?
  • How much do you need in the bank to do what you want to do?
  • What do you want to leave for your children/grandchildren?
  • Do you want to invest in another start-up?
  • What about philanthropy and making a positive impact on society?

Each of these questions is critical and impactful because they determine how much you will need to have at the end of your exit plan. What we have found most interesting throughout the years is that typically what most entrepreneurs think they will need post-business sale and what they actually need to maintain their lifestyle are quite different. And usually their estimates of what they require are on the high side! In other words, for many folks, the number they hope to get for their business at the end of negotiations is usually much higher than what they really need.

A skilled wealth manager can walk you through all of these questions and many more to determine exactly how much money you will need to have for the rest of your life. What is really fascinating, though, is how many of our clients eventually start up another venture post-sale, which is rarely done out of financial need. No, rather, these folks are generally serial entrepreneurs who cannot shake the need to start something new and grow it.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Either way, whether you are older and simply looking for a good beach location to spend the rest of your years, or you are determined to start something new, a financial planner can advise you well in advance of your liquidity event on how much you will need – and most importantly in today’s market – where to put it so it can meet your needs.

Generational Equity is NOT a wealth management firm. We specialize in creating liquidity for our clients. What we find amazing is how many of our clients do not have the advice of a wealth management firm. If 100% of your assets are tied up in your home and business, the assumption is you really have no need of a wealth manager. Nothing could be further from the truth. Quite often we recommend early in our process that business owners find and hire a financial consultant who can help them to prepare and plan for their liquidity event.

Here is an amazing statistic: More than 40% of small business owners do NOT have a retirement plan in place, according to the American College State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services. This is a tragedy that could have huge implications throughout the next 10-15 years.

So far we have only focused on the financial aspects of this business transfer. Quite often we find that the people most affected by the business sale are the spouses! Suddenly they have a significant other who for years was rarely around and now is underfoot all day long. This is another aspect that a wealth manager can help you discuss: What do I want to do with my spare time post-sale?

Again, many of our clients fill this void by starting another business. Others get involve in hobbies or philanthropy. It is all up to you, but given a million dollars and unlimited free time, what would you do?

Your answer to that question may actually surprise you.    

Generational Equity works with regional and national wealth management firms throughout North America. But again, we are not in that business. We specialize in creating millionaires, but we are keenly aware of the responsibility we thrust on business owners who often are ill equipped to manage their newfound wealth.

For that reason we strongly urge you to begin working with a wealth management firm as early as you can. The sooner the better.

To learn more about Generational Equity and our exit planning services, please send us an email. We would be glad to get you started on your liquidity event and help you connect with wealth managers that can guide you post-close to ensure your financial and personal dreams are met.

Carl Doerksen is the Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity.

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