Sell Your IT Services Firm: Should I Stay or Should I Sell?

It’s happening. I’m aging. You’re aging. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are aging… 

You’re not alone. Aging happens to us all. It’s a good thing really.

Aging is one of the most helpful processes, reminding us to continually focus on and re-examine our life and career priorities so that we can make the most out of our time here. So, aging is actually a blessing…

Unfortunately, as of yet, there’s no way to stop this process in its tracks so buckle in folks.

The challenge we’re faced with now is how do we focus on our lives and careers on what is most meaningful to us. For many of you, business owners, the biggest decision that aging will trigger is whether to sell your business or stay and make it grow.

Let’s say you’re in the ballpark age range of 40-60’s. You built a company from the ground up. You’ve made your money. You’re successful. Things are going pretty smoothly, or smooth enough to divert your attention to other parts of your life. You’re starting to feel the itch, a need for change, for something more. This something more might be the need for a new challenge, which may or may not be in your work life. For example:

  • You’ve done the work and are a little burnt out and need a new challenge. It’s time to acquire another company to force growth for your eventual exit OR sell now and ride off into the sun set. 
  • It’s time to pass on the family business to your kids who are threatening to take away your car keys (don’t they know Cadillacs are basically tanks with couches?). Kids these days…
  • You’ve discovered a new career related passion to pursue…(training eagles to capture drones).
  • Your kids just had grandkids and it’s time to enact your revenge by moving next door to them and spoiling them rotten.
  • Your close friends just retired and are setting to sail around the world, which sounds kind of nice.
  • There’s a sale on RV campers and now you’re spent the past month (till 2 am) researching how to make your life more mobile and trying to convince your spouse how awesome it’ll be despite the tiny shower/toilet area (super overrated, right?).

Yes, yes. I see you. Now what?

It’s important to ask yourself a few questions first:

Get clear on why you want to sell or stay and grow.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you feel like your life is missing something, or are you looking for a new challenge to gnaw on?
  • Is your personal life – physical/mental/emotional/relational/spiritual life taking a hit?
  • Are you chronically bored, or have you found a new work passion?
  • Are you ready to retire? Do you long to be in that next stage of your life where you can spend more time with your family, having adventures, being of service?
  • Have you accomplished everything you wanted to/hoped to? If not, why?
  • Does the thought of not having work in your life make you cringe?
  • Are you still in it to win it?

Are you emotionally ready to not only make a decision but take next steps?

Making a major business decision is a lot like training for a marathon.

No sane person goes out and just runs one without training unless they’re 12 years old or a mutant (which my friends, we are not). Typically, they make a plan and then stick to it, changing their diet, lifting weights and by practicing running for increasingly longer lengths of time. So, in order to make a career impacting decision and follow through on everything that comes next in a healthy and sustainable way, you need a plan. Other things to examine are your physical and mental health, selling or staying and growing both take lots of time and energy. It’s important to assess whether you have enough of both to succeed in this (laborious yet exciting) endeavor.

After you’ve taken a baseline on your why and your emotional preparedness, it’s time to collect and consider the facts and other important information including what type of professional expertise and guidance you might along the way.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. How much is your business worth? Do you know how to get a proper valuation of your company? This is where professional expertise and consulting can be most helpful.
  2. Is now the right time, to sell or to grow, for both your company and the marketplace?
  3. Do you know who your ideal, potential buyer is in your industry? Do you know what they want?
  4. Do you have a plan for your future after you sell or stay and grow? Where and what do you want to be in the next year? The next 5-10 years?

Now that I’ve given you a TON of things to think about. I truly hope you do. Print this email out and find some quiet time to mull over these questions during your morning coffee or nightly wind-downs with your loved ones.

These important questions will directly shape and define the next 20-40 years of your life so, obviously they deserve some time and thoughtful consideration.

If, after reading this, you don’t have the foggiest idea of how to begin answering these questions, you might benefit from engaging the services of an expert consultant in your industry. I cannot stress this enough so please make sure the person you work with has the right skills and competencies to guide you.

Deciding to sell or stay and grow is a lengthy, time-consuming (and at times, crazy making) process that gets downright unnerving at times. By making sure you’ve got the right people on board to support and guide you through the process, while reminding you to take the road bumps in stride, you’ll find yourself on the faster track towards success.

To talk with us about how we can help you IT services business finally solve your struggles with growth and profitability, click here to contact us on our contact us page.