Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seven Reasons to Sell Your Business

Business Owners are a special breed! They are independent people who want to be in charge, to make decisions. They love what they are doing – work is fun. Work is satisfying. Their work defines who they are.

As long as things are going well the thought of moving on and selling their business is foreign to them.
But a time will come to sell and move on. As a business owner you need to recognize that your world is going to change. You need to anticipate those changes and be prepared to sell your business. The goal is to ‘go out on top;’ to sell your business on your terms, on your timing.


YOU WILL CHANGE – You won’t have the energy to keep the company viable. You’ll no longer have the passion for the business.
Maybe you, your spouse or other family member will have health problems that will keep you from spending the time you need to run the business.
Or you might run out of ideas, finding that what used to work no longer gets the results you want.

YOUR BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT WILL CHANGE – Global competition, new technology or changing employee values are some factors that will demand new thinking. What got you here no longer works. Your company must reinvent itself to compete in the new world.
Change is essential and you may no longer be the person to lead the needed change.

YOU NEED TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEXT GENERATION – Not just family businesses. Any business ‘worth its salt’ needs to have people who have the passion and the ability to lead the business into the changing future.
The future of your business depends upon identifying people with potential, developing them and providing opportunities to grow into leadership roles.
If you fail to provide opportunities for your best people, the very ones you need the most, they will leave perhaps moving to work with your competition.

YOU WANT TO ‘GO OUT ON TOP’ - You have made an investment and built a strong viable business. Now you want to ‘harvest that investment’ by selling it and moving into a new phase of your life. This might happen anytime, independent of your age.

YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUITY TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS - Perhaps, when your business is ‘at the top of its mark,’ a prospective buyer will want to buy it, making an offer the just too good to pass up.
But if you are not prepared to sell and move on, you may pass up a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

NOTE: Sometimes a buyer will want you to stay on for a short period to assure a smooth transition.
Others may want you to remain indefinitely and continue to manage the business.
The advantage, in either instance, is that you have withdrawn your investment and still have a role. Your challenge is to consider the opportunity carefully to confirm that this arrangement matches your long term personal plans.
In either instance you have only deferred your personal move to independence for a few years.

YOU WANT TO RELOCATE – Perhaps it’s time to move to a warmer climate – one where you don’t have to deal with winter and can play golf or enjoy some other outdoor hobbies year around.
Maybe you want to ‘follow the kids’ who have relocated so you can be near your grandchildren.

YOU HAVE A NEW PASSION – Maybe the business isn’t what you want to do anymore and you want to move on. You want to let go of this business and start a new venture.
Perhaps the business has changed and you are required to do many duties which leaves you with too little time to do what really matters to you; too many management responsibilities and not enough time to work on projects or too little time to see customers, etc.

Selling your business is not a ‘traditional retirement.’ It’s an opportunity for a transition and a new beginning.
The sale is an act of harvesting the investment that you spent years building. It’s moving into a new phase of life – one that gives you new purpose, new meaning and new opportunities.
Making a successful transition is a multi-year process that merges three elements: personal, company and financial.
Even though you don’t want to sell now it’s essential to start planning to assure success.

What are your perspectives on selling a business?
Have you sold a business? Describe the experience. What did you learn that you can pass on to others?
Are you pondering selling? What are your concerns?

Want to explore the subject? Check out my web site http://www.life-work-transitions.com/ or contact me at pkwendel@aol.com or 716 434 8688

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Someday you’ll leave your business – every business owner will.
Will you leave on your terms – when you want to or will you be pushed or carried out?

You have a range of choices.
You can ‘Die at your desk’ – you just keep working until the last ounce of energy leaves your body, and your heirs must pick up the pieces and close out the business.
Or you can just ‘Lock the door and walk away’ selling whatever you have left; plant, equipment and records often for pennies on the dollar. Minimal planning is needed to pull this one off!

Both of these oprions can enable you to ‘go out on top’ by selling the business when it has high value so you can harvest your investment and build a nest egg for the next phase of your life.
One transition option is an internal sale; you sell to your partners or management team. This option enables you to build an organization that is your legacy and gives you some input on who will carry your legacy forward. But you must select and develop your successors. And it may take several years for your buyers to complete the buyout.
Another transition option is an external sale to an outside third party. This can often be the most profitable because the buyers see a greater strategic value resulting from merging the two companies. Although finding the best buyer will take more time, completing the sale is usually faster than an internal sale.
The transition option you ultimately choose will depend on your answers to these questions:
• How can you maximize your return when you sell the business?
• Do you have potential buyers on staff; people who have the passion, skills, experience and financial resources to buy you out?
• Can you find external buyers who will pay you a premium?
• What do you want to do in the next phase of your life – after you sell your business?
• What is your time table – when do you want be free to move into your next phase?

Remember the old adage: Begin with the end in mind; What outcome do you want? Do you have an exit strategy to achieve that outcome?
My primary focus is helping business owners choose the future they want to create and guide them as the make the transition. It’s not retirement - an end; It’s a transition, beginning a new journey, one that can last decades.
In addition, if you intend an internal transfer, I can help you build the next generation of leaders/owners to carry your legacy forward.
Also, I can augment your team of legal and financial advisors to carry out your owner succession plan.
MY goal is to assist you in laying out your exit strategy well in advance of your needs with plenty of time to implement it in an effective, comprehensive manner.
I look forward to working with you to explore ways to help you lay out your exit strategy.

I invite you to visit my web site at: http://www.life-work-transitions.com/
Pete Wendel

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The holidays – and vacation trips after the new year - can be times to slow the pace and do some extra reading.
What to read? Here are some ideas – an eclectic list from which you might find one or two that tickle your fancy:

E-MYTH REVISITED by Michael Gerber
A ‘must read’ for every business owner who wants to rethink their role and streamline their life.
BUILT TO SELL by John Warrilow
A parable about a business owner who restructures his business and sells it. A good guide for you if want to sell your business and move on with your life.

START WITH WHY by Simon Simek
Those who lead us inspire us. They lead by creating connections between our goals and the ‘why’ of those goals.
DRIVE by Daniel Pink
The three keys to motivating people – a very different, eye opening approach.

THE BATTLE by Arthur Brooks
I, a ‘flaming moderate’ who is square in the middle between the left and right, found this short book to be a thoughtful and useful presentation of the conservative point of view. By the President of the American Enterprise Institute.

HIGH HEAT by Tim Wendel
“The secret history of the fast ball and the improbable search for the fastest pitcher of all time.’
(Full disclosure – made with great pride! Tim is our oldest son!)

What have you read that you recommend? Tell us in the comments section.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Pacific Life Insurance, the one with the whales in its TV commercials, asks the question “Are you prepared for your retirement years – twenty five or more of them?”

Of course, being a life insurance company the focus is on ‘Your financial future.”

Twenty five years of ‘retirement’ is a long time! And it’s a likely probability for a lot of baby boomers. And there’s more ahead than just the financial part. There’s your life - life after you, a business owner, sell your business!

Many, business owners have retained their financial and legal consultants to plan their financial future. That’s a good thing. It has been estimated that as much as 70 to 85 per cent of many business owner’s net worth is in her/his business. So it’s smart to have a plan to harvest that investment from the business and move it into a personal portfolio.

We all know of business owners who have no vision for life after retirement. So they just hold on to their business. They have no plans for the next phase of their life so they just keep doing what they know. They can’t move on! Instead of going out on top, they ‘stay when they should go,’ suffocating the business they built, that, in turn, sucks their personal savings back into the business to keep it alive.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In addition to having a financial plan, every business owner needs to plan for their personal future – their next phase – and for the future of the company without them.

The challenge is to think about their company and themselves as separate entities and to develop a transition plan, in advance, for each to go their own way. That’s more than just their financial future!

In future articles we’ll explore the non-financial elements of your future as a business owner contemplating retirement.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Sooner or later every business owner must address the question, “How will I successfully sell my business and move on with my life?”

Many of the owners I have talked to seem to be ‘marching in place’ acknowledging that they need to plan for their future but are in denial about the need to plan ahead. They seem to believe that the process is simple and the time to ‘make it happen’ will be short. Actually, that’s not the case for most of them.

Every Business Owner needs to develop a transition strategy with plenty of time to execute it 'on their time table' to withdraw their equity, assure the continued success of their business and, prepare, personally, for the 'next phase' of their life.

The transition strategy must address three key areas of concern:
They often have addressed the financial aspect but not the other two.

Here are five key questions for the Business Owner to answer that become the building blocks of each Transition Strategy:
   1) How will I harvest my investment?
   2) Who will purchase my business?
             Will I sell to an external buyer?
             Will I sell internally - to my family, partners, key staff?
   3) What is the legacy I want to leave?
   4) What do I want to do in the next phase of my life?
   5) What is my timetable?

Developing and implementing a Transition Strategy can be a long term process that begins with working out the answer to these questions, planning the strategy and identifying the action steps to 'make it all happen.'

All these questions are inter-related. For instance, the owner must decide who the prospective buyers might be. If it will be internal buyers, the seller must determine that the buyers are prepared well in advance. The buyers must have passion, the ability to manage the business and the money to buy the business on the owner’s terms.

Several owners I've worked with expected to sell to their partners or staff only to discover that there wasn't enough time or the potential buyers didn't have the resources.

I have also worked with several owners who think they are ready to sell the business but 'get cold feet' because they aren't prepared, emotionally, to move on with their lives. They haven't chosen a next phase of their lives after they make the transition. Making the decisions feels like a dead end or like falling off a cliff. So they hold on too long and their equity diminishes.

For the transition to be successful, the owner must addresses the five questions and develop a comprehensive Transition Strategy well in advance.

My work focuses on these five questions. I begin working with the business owner, helping her or him explore their aspirations and cataloguing the key issues they need to address to plan their transition, Working with the owner, and sometimes their key professional advisors, I help the owner identify he or/his desired results and develop a transition strategy to achieve those results.

In future articles, I’ll discuss various elements of the planning process.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Seventy five per cent of all business owners regretted selling their business 12 months after the sale! (According to a recent survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers)

That’s a significant number! Especially for business owners whose life and identity are wrapped up in their business.

The solution is not to hold on to the business. Owners who hold on are in danger of ‘staying when they need to move on,’ dragging the company down.

Staying too long, the business owner ‘loses steam’ and begins to drain the business of its vitality. Instead of being a revenue generator, the business ‘bleeds’ the owner’s investment.

If you are planning an internal sale to your staff, partners etc., staying also limits the opportunity for the next generation to set a new direction - to infuse the company with the creativity and energy it needs to survive and grow.

Seeing diminishing potential for personal opportunity, the best people may leave –  joining your competition.

The solution is for every business owner to envision a ‘Next Phase’ of their life after work and create something to look forward to. This is a very personal challenge – one that takes time and contemplation.

What will I do next?” You decide! The Owners goal is to explore what beyond their business has personal meaning – to discover their deeper ‘Life Purpose’ and choose that ‘next phase’ of life that builds on that life purpose.

Choosing your ‘Next Phase’ is a challenge! To learn how I can help you, visit my web site 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IDENTIFYING A STROKE - with a new key

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient
medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately,
the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe
brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today.)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency
number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke ????????------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out
his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the
other that is also an indication of a stroke.

Please make a copy for your self - and share this with otners.

Pete Wendel