American Business Brokers & Advisor Founder & President PROFESSIONAL INTERMEDIARY & MARKET MAKER FOR PRIVATELY HELD COMPANIES Author of ‘The Art of Buying and Selling a Convenience Store’ & ‘Selling with Certainty’ Involved in the Sale of 800+ Businesses Advisor • Consultant • Speaker
Can You Move to the Next Chapter?
“We don’t have as much control over the chapters of our lives as we would like — but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the story.”
Be Willing to Move OnWhile You’re Ahead!
Back before Blockbuster was even on the map, I decided I was going to get into the video rental business. I started out with one store, and over the course 13 years, from 1983 to 1996, I grew that business into a franchise of 155 stores in 27 states and parts of Canada. Through that experience, I learned a lot about what it takes to run a growing business effectively. I learned how to deal with accounting, legal, management, and about a dozen other different facets before I ultimately sold the business. After that, I owned restaurants, radio stations, brokerage companies, and most other businesses in between. Over the course of my career, I’ve owned 40 different businesses. That’s a lot of different chapters that I’ve opened and closed, and that’s why I’m now in the perfect place to help other business owners make decisions concerning their own businesses. One of those decisions I often help others make is whether they should turn the page on their current chapter of life, or if they should keep reading. Lots of men have a hard time ending chapters in their lives. We’re stubborn like that. We get a plan in our heads and we want to see it through to the end, regardless of what our friends, our business associates, or the market might tell us is wiser. I’ve had friends and clients tell me before, “I’m going to run my business for x amount of years and then sell it.” I usually tell them that’s fine, but their timelines won’t factor into the advice I’ll give them. On top of that, the market does not care about your plans. It might tell you to close up shop long before you planned to, or long after. We don’t have as much control over the chapters of our lives as we would like — but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the story. When I sold my video rental business, I did so because I knew it was time for that chapter of my life to end. I had really enjoyed working in that
industry. It’s what I call a “happy business” because the people who walked in were always happy. They’re about to get a movie, after all! If they don’t like the movie, I can just give them a new one, and they’re happy again. It’s not like the restaurant business, where customers’ moods vary a lot more. Restaurants can still be good businesses, though — but I digress. I sold the business at its peak, even though I was happy to keep doing it, because all indicators pointed to it being time to sell. So, I sold it and had no hard feelings about leaving it behind. You might have heard the old phrase: “pigs get fat — hogs get slaughtered.” It’s okay to be a pig and watch your business get fat. If you feed it for too long though, there’s a chance it will turn into a hog, and you’ll have to kill it. Don’t let that happen to your business. If all indicators are telling you it’s time to sell, don’t let a plan you’ve made stop you from successfully stepping into the next chapter of your life. I’ve spent my entire career jumping from iceberg to iceberg, from chapter to chapter, and I can say without a doubt that being willing to go to that next chapter is one of my greatest keys to success. I found myself in the right place at the right time for the business I was in, and when more competition came on the scene and the industry matured, I left. Can you imagine if I had stayed in the video rental business until today? The fact of the matter is that many businesses booming today are part of industries that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and the market isn’t going to stop accelerating anytime soon. If necessary, are you willing to move to the next chapter while you’re still ahead?
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