You built your company from the ground up. You made it a success. But that was many years ago. Now you’re thinking that the company can succeed – and maybe even do better — without you. Is it time to leave? You could finally take a vacation without being glued to your phone or maybe even start a new venture.
Regardless of what the future might hold, deciding whether to leave your business is never easy. Let’s look at a few simple questions to ask yourself.
Do you still enjoy going to work?
You used to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and enjoy it. Now just putting in a 9-5 day is a challenge. Burnout can happen to anyone, even those at the top.
If you’re not enjoying your job, chances are that you’re infecting those around you with that attitude. Or people might just choose to stay away from you and gravitate to your second or third in command who are still enthusiastic about the company.
Are you irritable with employees and customers?
Maybe you find yourself lashing out at people who work for you over relatively minor things. Perhaps you’re no longer willing to go the extra mile for customers who aren’t happy. Both of these things can cause a business to go downhill fast.
Has anyone hinted at your retirement?
If you’re fortunate, you’ve got people around you who care enough about you and the company to tell you if they believe it may be time to step aside. They may not do anything as overt as leaving brochures about round-the-world cruises on your desk, but they may be dropping hints. If not, just ask someone (or several people) you trust – and not just the person who would be next in line for your job.
Your exit strategy will depend in large part on how your company was established. It could involve selling the company, divesting in stock and a multitude of other things. Can you choose your successor, for example? You also want to be sure that you’re protected financially.
You’ll want to look at any contracts that are in place and determine if you need to draft one as you leave. Experienced legal guidance is essential to help you deal with all these matters.