Burnout is an often-used reason for an owner selling a business. Potential buyers may have trouble accepting this as a valid reason for sale. However, burnout is a legitimate reason for exiting one’s business.
A business owner can experience burnout even with a business that’s successful and growing. Many independent business owners feel they’ve worked hard, made their money, and now is a good time to cash out and move on, before burnout endangers the health of the business.
The following warning signs should remind a business owner that cashing out beats burning out:
You are overwhelmed on a daily basis.
When a business owner carries most of the responsibility for the company, even small tasks and minor decisions can seem bigger than Mount Everest. These owners have been shouldering the burden alone for too long, and the isolation has taken its toll.
You sense a failure of imagination.
Burned-out owners are so close to their work that they lose perspective. Prioritizing becomes a major daily challenge and problem solving sometimes goes no further than the application of business Band-Aids that cost money in the long run rather than increasing profits.
Is your business exit ready?
If you’re planning to exit your company in the near future, you may find EastWind’s Exit Strategy Playbook helpful in developing your own exit strategy, making your company more sellable.
The joy is gone.
Although owning a business is hard work, it should also provide a good measure of enjoyment. When the workday begins with dread or boredom, the owner probably needs a change of scenery and a new challenge.
You are exhausted.
Being “just too tired” is a complaint heard just as often from the owner of the successful business as from the business that’s struggling to survive. In fact, a business that is growing will create increased demands of time and energy.
No matter what the status of the operation, the sheer work of keeping a business going day after day, year after year, is enough to encourage a business owner to make a change. This kind of schedule is not for everyone; in fact, statistics show that it’s hardly for anyone on a long-term basis. Cashing out is not a sign of giving up. It can be a sign that you are listening to your inner cues and choosing the path that’s best for you, and the business, in the long run.
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