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Old 02-27-2016, 09:35 AM   #21
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What motivates them if you still own 100%? I presume since you own 100% you make major decisions (major expansion, financing, etc)? Do you have an economic out in mind?
What motivates them? Well, $$$, autonomy, getting to control the show, etc. We changed the way they were paid once they took over. One of them doubled his salary and the other increased by 50%. These are life changing amounts for them. I have full control which is nice so yeah I make major decisions (few and far between these days). I don't really have an economic out in mind. I do think the more years that go by the more I wouldn't mind selling a minority share to some one, essentially to pull some cash out.

I just never had the mindset of selling going into it so it wasn't a high priority. Now if someone handed me a couple million for say, 10% of the company, that might be hard to deny.

I've never really looked into selling a share of my company so I really don't know where to begin.

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What/whose deadline?

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My mental deadline. It helped me keep OMY syndrome at bay.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:12 PM   #22
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Interesting YeahNo. A neighbor friend sold his used car business to two of his long-time employees a couple years ago but still goes in regularly part-time. He owns the building and leases it to them and also finances the inventory. From what I gather he provides input but they make the final decisions but the appreciate his counsel and experience. It works for them.

It is sort of like they are co-COOs and he is their banker/landlord.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:32 PM   #23
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I was tossing it out there to see what the responses would look like. I did start a company at 25 that was a service bureau to banks. We went from 0 to 57 employes. The business was profitable and was sold in 1997. We sold it because we were afraid bank consolidation would kill the business. Eventually it did about 5 years after the deal closed. I worked out a 3 year employment agreement during which time I built 2 fast food franchises and put a manager in place to run them. After 5 years I sold them as that was not my thing and took a couple of years off to be with my little kids. During this time, one of those old customers called and offered me a job. I still have the job. Good pay, an actual pension and stock grants. I have some $ in the bank in addition from the past ventures. House is paid off and have a beach place.

My question is this, how practical is it to jump into buying a business using some cash and debt and then not taking out a salary until the debt is paid off. I don't need a salary from the business . I just turned 51 and early retirement starts at 55 so i think I could get it paid off in time to retire early. I'm just talking out loud, I guess...


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Old 02-27-2016, 05:52 PM   #24
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Interesting YeahNo. A neighbor friend sold his used car business to two of his long-time employees a couple years ago but still goes in regularly part-time. He owns the building and leases it to them and also finances the inventory. From what I gather he provides input but they make the final decisions but the appreciate his counsel and experience. It works for them.

It is sort of like they are co-COOs and he is their banker/landlord.
It's always interesting to hear details of others exit strategies. I think it would be fun to experience at least once.
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:14 AM   #25
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What motivates them? Well, $$$, autonomy, getting to control the show, etc. We changed the way they were paid once they took over. One of them doubled his salary and the other increased by 50%. These are life changing amounts for them. I have full control which is nice so yeah I make major decisions (few and far between these days). I don't really have an economic out in mind. I do think the more years that go by the more I wouldn't mind selling a minority share to some one, essentially to pull some cash out.
Thank you for your thoughts. The way my mind works I am either fully in or fully out. I just can't do things half way. That is probably why I have never had a vacation longer than 5 business days in 30 years. I have no desire to maintain control. I am selling because it is time to move to another chapter and I have no desire to take the business back. I am going to sell to my two senior people that have been with me for more than 20 years. They will pay me out over 5 years. I do not need the income or proceeds for retirement but very much do want them to succeed. So in addition to the sales price we will have a consulting contract. I will work 3 days per week until December and then I will stay on for a year on an as needed basis.

The "business" has been very good to me and I hope it will now be very good to them. They have earned it.

Already shopping for woodworking equipment and planning a 1 month vacation in Europe. It is still somewhat surreal to me.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #26
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Thank you for your thoughts. The way my mind works I am either fully in or fully out. I just can't do things half way. That is probably why I have never had a vacation longer than 5 business days in 30 years. I have no desire to maintain control. I am selling because it is time to move to another chapter and I have no desire to take the business back. I am going to sell to my two senior people that have been with me for more than 20 years. They will pay me out over 5 years. I do not need the income or proceeds for retirement but very much do want them to succeed. So in addition to the sales price we will have a consulting contract. I will work 3 days per week until December and then I will stay on for a year on an as needed basis.

The "business" has been very good to me and I hope it will now be very good to them. They have earned it.

Already shopping for woodworking equipment and planning a 1 month vacation in Europe. It is still somewhat surreal to me.
I think my whole ideal of building it and then letting someone run it got implanted in me at an early age. My Dad was a workaholic (and still is) so he wasn't around much for family activities so I learned I never wanted to do that. So what is the opposite of this? Create a business and have someone run it for you once its built up so you can have an excess of the most valuable asset, TIME. I think my ideal situation might eventually be to sell a small portion to get a cash infusion but I'm not sure how realistic this is as most probably want to buy the whole company.

As far as vacations, I can't say this any louder...MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME!! Book that month vacation as soon as you can. My wife and I just did our first 6 week long vacation the end of last year and it was absolutely amazing. We live in a cold weather state so being able to get out of town and back to the warmth was great. We rented a home on VRBO and it was so much better than doing the hotel thing, at least for extended stays. It really started to feel like our own home after a week or two and we didn't miss our actual home at all. We are now planning 2016-2017 winter trip ideas.

All of this made possible because I had a Dad who was a workaholic, a business that succeeded, and a wife on the same page.
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Old 03-08-2016, 04:29 PM   #27
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I and two others started and grew and engineering consultancy into an Inc. 500 company in a seven year period of time. Sacrificing home life for business was not a trade-off the three of us (nor our employees) had to make. We structured the company and the culture so that everyone could "work from home." In the early 1990's that was so unusual that the city newspaper did a front-page business section article on us. Of course, the nature of the work allowed this and it helped that we had a professional staff. We eventually had an offices, but never compelled work to be done there. I feel extremely lucky that I was able to have a terrific career and business, and that it did not significantly affect my family life (growth like that certainly has some effect, but it was manageable).

We sold the business to a larger company a little more than a decade ago. We had a 5 year management contract and 5 year earn-out. At the end of that, it was easy for me to walk away. I had pride in what we had built and the work we accomplished for our clients, but I always saw it as a means to providing FI.

There is a broader issue couched in the OP's first post (a thread which runs through many posts on the site): "I am comfortable and familiar with what I have now; so will I be (how can I be) comfortable and happy once that goes away?" My spouse is dealing with that now, moving her mother from her home of 50 years to an independent living facility. One of the best ways to answer that question was put forth in a book, Stumbling On Happiness, which essentially said that if others have found something that brings them happiness, it probably will bring happiness to you as well (we're not as unique as we think). Many people have trouble processing the change and letting go, but then find they are happier once in the new place. From the last post of the OP, it sounds like this is the case in his life.

In addition to the business above, I've started and owned five, diverse businesses (all of which I no longer own), and I previously worked in a couple of Mega Corps as well. Be really careful about shackling yourself with the headaches of a full-blown small business in retirement. If you need the cash flow from that to live, you're neither FI nor ready to RE. I still work part-time because I enjoy it, but I am a single person LLC. Nobody relies on me to make a payroll, and cash flow from the business is irrelevant to me. Use the same Stumbling On Happiness concept from above: do other franchisees / owners of this type of business love it (and make money from it)? If not, run away. Owning a small business is not better or worse than the Mega Corp job, it is just different. Would you be trading one job from which you want to retire for another, likely with more stress?
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:35 AM   #28
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I sold my company with 50 employees to a rapidly growing technology company that IPOed about 6 months after they acquired us. I spent exactly 1 year at the acquiring company, babysitting the integration.

After 1 year I gave my notice and moved onto a sailboat with my wife and two kids and sailed the islands for a year. This was an important stage for me to leave the work world behind and embrace my new life. Also, I felt a strong need to rebuild my relationship wit my family, after years if long hours build the company.

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Old 03-11-2016, 08:45 PM   #29
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I sold my company with 50 employees to a rapidly growing technology company that IPOed about 6 months after they acquired us. I spent exactly 1 year at the acquiring company, babysitting the integration.

After 1 year I gave my notice and moved onto a sailboat with my wife and two kids and sailed the islands for a year. This was an important stage for me to leave the work world behind and embrace my new life. Also, I felt a strong need to rebuild my relationship wit my family, after years if long hours build the company.

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Sounds like a great ending you have there! Were you into sailing prior to the trip or was this new for you?
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:29 PM   #30
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Sounds like a great ending you have there! Were you into sailing prior to the trip or was this new for you?
I had a boat for a few years, did a carribbean charter, and then a transatlantic trip prior, but we still had a lot to learn before pushing off from the dock.

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Old 03-14-2016, 01:01 PM   #31
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I really enjoy hearing about the types of businesses folks own/ed. It's always been a dream to own something even if it's super small but just haven't been able to find the courage or the right field. I'm in IT and the small time businesses in that field start and close weekly, I see it first hand.
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:32 AM   #32
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UPDATE

Closed on the sale of the business yesterday. Will stay on for 6 months for three days per week and then complete exodus on December 31. I do have a consulting contract for 5 years but nothing much to do. Employees were all informed earlier in the week. I left the office early yesterday at 1:00 and I will say I felt different. To some extent a weight lifted off my shoulders. Through the ups and downs of starting and running a small business I felt responsible for the firm's 30 or so employees. It has been a major part of my life (all encompassing to a large degree) for the past 26 years. Not even sure what the world is like during the week before 7:00pm. Strange but I felt bad (almost guilty) being out of the office during the workday. I realize it has been only one day but it also made me realize I have a lot of acclimating to do. No looking back because I have not enjoyed working for the past 5 years and I know that, but I will say it was just plain strange. While in the drugstore, it was taking the clerk a little longer to find a prescription and I thought to myself "where's the rush". I need to keep saying that to myself.
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:17 AM   #33
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Good thread and I just saw it today with the update. I too am on this path. Started a business 20 years ago and I am now in the process of selling it.
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:23 AM   #34
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UPDATE

Closed on the sale of the business yesterday. Will stay on for 6 months for three days per week and then complete exodus on December 31. I do have a consulting contract for 5 years but nothing much to do. Employees were all informed earlier in the week. I left the office early yesterday at 1:00 and I will say I felt different. To some extent a weight lifted off my shoulders. Through the ups and downs of starting and running a small business I felt responsible for the firm's 30 or so employees. It has been a major part of my life (all encompassing to a large degree) for the past 26 years. Not even sure what the world is like during the week before 7:00pm. Strange but I felt bad (almost guilty) being out of the office during the workday. I realize it has been only one day but it also made me realize I have a lot of acclimating to do. No looking back because I have not enjoyed working for the past 5 years and I know that, but I will say it was just plain strange. It was taking the clerk a little longer to find the prescription and I thought to myself "where's the rush". I need to keep saying that to myself.
Wow, that is HUGE news. Congratulations!!!
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:30 AM   #35
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UPDATE

Closed on the sale of the business yesterday. Will stay on for 6 months for three days per week and then complete exodus on December 31. I do have a consulting contract for 5 years but nothing much to do. Employees were all informed earlier in the week. I left the office early yesterday at 1:00 and I will say I felt different. To some extent a weight lifted off my shoulders. Through the ups and downs of starting and running a small business I felt responsible for the firm's 30 or so employees. It has been a major part of my life (all encompassing to a large degree) for the past 26 years. Not even sure what the world is like during the week before 7:00pm. Strange but I felt bad (almost guilty) being out of the office during the workday. I realize it has been only one day but it also made me realize I have a lot of acclimating to do. No looking back because I have not enjoyed working for the past 5 years and I know that, but I will say it was just plain strange. It was taking the clerk a little longer to find the prescription and I thought to myself "where's the rush". I need to keep saying that to myself.
Congrats! And you have a great transition period to ease into full retirement!
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:56 PM   #36
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What motivates them? Well, $$$, autonomy, getting to control the show, etc. We changed the way they were paid once they took over. One of them doubled his salary and the other increased by 50%. These are life changing amounts for them. I have full control which is nice so yeah I make major decisions.
So essentially, money.
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Old 11-02-2016, 11:57 AM   #37
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2d UPDATE

Now it has been 4 months since the sale of my business and I have been working only three days per week since July 1. Full retirement on December 31. The transition has been much easier than I expected. Letting go has not been an issue. Now Fridays and Mondays are like Saturday and Sunday. My e-mail count has dropped from over 150/day to a few per week because the buyer and his group have largely taken over. It has been truly wonderful. A couple of observations from this 56 year old:

1. I seem to think more about my health now then I did before. Perhaps because I have more time. No change in circumstances.
2. When we go out to dinner on Mondays I notice that there are a lot more people "my age" in the restaurant. I seem to be more conscious of age than I was before. Don't know why.
3. When we informed clients (many of whom were my age), they took the news much better than expected and well understood. Many have been considering the same thing.
4. When people ask, "What will you do" I have been answering "Whatever I want".
5. I spend a lot of time planning vacations. My wife who has been stay at home for the past 18 years is hesitant to commit to vacations like I am. I am ready to go. I guess it is a little like a bird being let out of a cage.


In a word it has been great and I am looking forward to January 1 when we board a plane to the Caribbean to celebrate my first day of retirement.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:07 PM   #38
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This is great to hear, Phil1ben. Congratulations. I will be interested to hear how things go for you, and how your thinking changes (or does not) over time. Best wishes!
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:18 PM   #39
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Great to hear. Selling a business can be a great relief valve for stress! Also very impressive with the quick change.
I am several years behind you in age but have been doing 4-5 half days a week for about two years, and enjoying it. I don't have a fixed date, they still want me around for a while. However from time to time there is a an opportunity to be pulled back in as new projects start and the juices start flowing again. When I sit back and think about it I really want to pull the entire plug as you are doing.
Congratulations!
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Old 12-29-2016, 02:21 PM   #40
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3d UPDATE:

I AM RETIRED. Last day of work was December 28. Still have a consulting arrangement for 5 years as part of the transaction but I am done. They even set up a small office for me if I want to use it.........NOT. Off to St. Martin on Sunday for a week and then it will all set in. The Buyers did a great job transitioning and I think things are under control.

My oldest son just graduated with his accounting masters two weeks ago and is currently studying for the CPA. Starting with a Big 4 in September in NYC. So he will be home until September. Youngest son is a sophomore in college. Making my own list of things to do.

Just finished Steinbeck's Travels with Charley to get in the mindset to buy an Airstream (he did not have an Airstream but did travel the country between Labor Day and Xmas 1960 and wrote about his travels) and travel the country with my DW for a few months. Doing a test run in an Airstream rental in April to make sure we like it. The holidays are still upon us so I have not yet tasted reality........but so looking forward to it.

Been planning this for years and finally did it.
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