Retiring From Business

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March 21, 2016

A Great friend died this weekend – We had worked for over 25 years on projects throughout the world – He was a lawyer – a friend – a great human person. Yes, we are both over 80 years - should be retired and enjoying life on the beach. I guess it was not our lifestyle.

It got me to thinking about others like you out in the business world – What are you doing about retirement. Thought I might share a few ideas.               

For A Successful Life after Business, Follow the W.I.N.O. Process

There comes a time in business owner’s life when they know they have to exit. Maybe you do not have any more the energy to deal with trivial issues, your health is not what it was, or you want to enjoy life with your partner travelling around the world or spending time in your new home in Florida. This can only be addressed by a profound change in who you are as a person.

                    You can do it the wrong way or the right way: 

The wrong way is to ignore that you will have to leave your business one day and let external factors push, force or manipulate you into changing in ways that do not suit your requirements, values or aspirations. One thing you know is that you are not immortal, if you do not do anything death will come and force you to exit the business. If you are not prepared for this eventuality you can leave your family and business stakeholders in a real mess.

The right way is to change your beliefs and how you see yourself from your deep inner, change that is based on what you dream of, who you are and what you hope to achieve starting a new and exciting phase of your life.

Achieving change from your deep inner is not an easy way, but it is by far the most effective way to get lasting, positive results.  Choosing to let other control your life has one big advantage it takes all of the hard work out of your hands. However, the risks that you will not like the new situation, you find you in, is very high and you may become resentful, dissatisfied; unfortunately, it may be too late to change again.

Follow the acronym W.I.N.O. to create the kind of stable, successful change that will make your life after business enjoyable and comfortable.


What do I Want and why?

Lay out what it is about your current life in business that needs to be changed to accommodate your new life. List the things that can remain the same and the things that must be changed. 

To help to come up with the best solution you should start listing what it is you like in your business life and what you did not like. This will help ensure that the change you make fits your needs and desires.

For example, if you like the intellectual challenge of your work you may want to find an activity that will replace this, or you could still want to be involved with the business as a consultant. If you like working with your staff obviously this will have to change when you exit the business. However, you can remain in contact with your former colleagues or you may want to become a trustee of a charity, or a non-executive director of a private company to enjoy dealing with people.

Listing the things you like and do not like about being in business will help you make a better decision about your 

What is important to me? Before you make any plans to exit, determine what is important to you. 

For example” I want a big house in a sunny and warm country with water view, I would have a boat to take my grandchildren sailing and fishing, the house has to be closed to an airport, so I can travel with my wife easily”.  What are your beliefs, your requirements, your dreams, your passion… If you do not address these, the change from being a business owner to your new identity and way of living will be ineffective and probably unstable. You should refer to these at all steps during the transition process, to make sure that the decisions you are making and you might want to consider these aspirations.

What do I Need? Make a “wish list” of things you would like to do in the next twenty to thirty years and how much money you will need to continue to live a comfortable life. Make a list of all the things that are essential, things that are not essential but you would like to have, and things that you do not want at all but may cost you money. Ask for a valuation of your business and your estate and find out if it will be sufficient to let you accomplish all you want. You may not be able to afford everything on your list, so you would have to decide with your family what compromise you are ready to make and if those are not sufficient to satisfy your desires you should look for adjustments you can make to your business or your estate to allow you to afford the life you want. Having a list will make sure you do not forget something, and will encourage you to compare your options more effectively.

To internalise the changes required, to accept your new identity and have a comfortable new life, you should ask yourself for each item on your list if it is a real need, or a “should have”. Is this something I really want or has it been suggested to me by somebody else? Other people’s idea of what you should want or should need does not reflect how you feel or what your aspirations really are. If you find yourself saying, “Maybe I should do this,” or “Perhaps this should be a consideration,” it’s time to check in with yourself and your family to see if this is something you really want, or if it’s coming from outside pressures.

Do not let other people tell you what you want. They don’t have to live with the consequences of any poor decisions or inappropriate changes you make based on their “suggestions.” The only people who get any say in how and what you change are those who have to share the consequences of the choices you make, usually, but not always, limited to your spouse and children.

What Obligations do I have to make my dreams come true? You need to prepare yourself, mentally, for a new social status. Your personal identity is intertwined with your business identity. You need to determine how to extract yourself from the business and what your new image will be.  

Being a business owner is who you are and who you have been for years. It is reassuring; it gives you pride and a feeling of self-worth.

Losing this social status is extremely painful and it will take you a long time to find a new identity. Separating yourself from the business is a process ensuring that you are mentally and emotionally ready to leave your company. It will help you find other activities or interests where others to regain pride and self-worth can value your talents. If you do not do it you are at risk to see your intellect declining rapidly and your joie de vivre disappearing as you will be soon forgotten by those in the active world.

The most successful succession plans should be started years in advance. When Exit Planning is left too late, the failure to plan can lead to disaster. This takes time but is worth the effort.

Are you curious about hearing more about the steps you should be taking and how you might benefit from hearing about how others we have helped with similar issues, then give us a call

Robert H Lane and Associates Inc 

416 910 1804

March 2016


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