There are times when you consider the bigger questions, when you consider what you want to do in the future. Sometimes this comes on the back of a period of strong growth and success when you may feel it’s time to make the most of the value you’ve built in the business; sometimes it’s in a period of difficult trading when either you feel you had enough or just can’t see a way through; and sometimes it’s simply that you’ve become a little stale, perhaps even bored with doing the same stuff.
Where are you at the moment?
If you’ve reached a point where you are contemplating ‘what next?’ it helps to share your thoughts and get help, guidance and ideas on the options open to you, how you decide between options and what you need to do to make your choice a success.
In the simplest terms, to make a change you have one or both options of stepping back or selling up altogether:
- Stepping back means reducing your day-to-day or even your strategic involvement in the business. Typically, this means reducing the business’s dependency on you and delegating management responsibilities to your team (reducing or stopping the ‘manager’ part of being an owner manager).
- Selling up means getting someone to buy some or all of your business and therefore your shareholding. As an ‘owner manager’ you are therefore looking to reduce or stop the ‘owner’ part of your role.
Often the stepping back and selling up happen at the same time, but they needn’t. In your periods of reflection about the business and your role it helps to separate out the elements that you are good at and enjoy from the parts you feel negative about or are not that good at. It also helps to project forward and think about your role over a period of time, not just how you are felling today.
Furthermore, before deciding which way to go, it helps to think about what comes next. This feeling that something’s got to change could mean a significant shift in how you live your life. Have you considered and developed a financial plan for you and the family? Have you considered what you might do with the time you will free up? These are important questions to answer and will probably involve conversations with others in your life, from family members to co-owners you may have in the business.
Help is available to provide structure and challenge to this period of personal planning. Clarity around your personal ‘what next’ is important before making changes to the business and your role in it.
With a clearer sense of your personal journey, work can commence on business planning and evolving your owner manager role to what is needs to be to meet your personal goals. In most cases this ends up being a multi-stepped plan. For example, it may start with the delegation of specific day-to-day operational responsibilities, then move to a reduction in time spent in the business – working four days a week for example.
From there it may involve a dilution of your shareholding, perhaps to new investors or to managers in the business. At some point you may step back from business management but retain some of your ownership; then at some point in the future you will sell up and step back entirely to enjoy the lifestyle you planned for.
It is often said that being an owner manager is a lonely path to follow, particularly if you don’t have fellow shareholders. It is good to share thoughts and get ideas from others, but you may feel that conversations about your role and your future are not ones you want to have with your managers.
Equally, conversations with the family may not provide the breadth of ideas or have sufficient knowledge of the business. If you have friends or peers who have been on a similar journey, they can provide a good source of ideas and stimulus, but you may conclude that an independent, expert view will be more valuable.
That’s where we excel. Having worked for almost 20 years with owner managers who have faced the same situation we know how to open up the possibilities, provide you with the structure to understand your options, give you the confidence to make the right decisions and then support and challenge you to implement your plan. Let’s explore your options together.