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Is COVID-19 the Ultimate Cure for One-More-Year-itis?

On one of our virtual Happy Hours, a business owner shared how her children remember the Great Recession. However, now they’re seeing economic upheaval again and are missing out on graduations, summer job opportunities, and even full-time employment.

In good times and lean, money issues have always weighed heavily on her mind, supporting her family, her employees, and their families.

She was not alone as many of us agreed that this was indeed a different time, however, we would get through it!

I believe entrepreneurs tend strongly toward optimism. After all, 9 times out of 10 when I talk to an owner about their projections, business is going to grow. It is not a bad attitude to have, especially when you consider the strength you need to run a business.

But that optimism is also why so many business owners succumb to what I like to call “one-more-year-itis.” This is the condition that leads owners to delay selling their business, even when the stars are aligned – business is good, revenues and bottom lines increasing and an up M&A market, thus the proceeds would more than fund their dream retirement.

Unfortunately, the majority of business owners do not plan ahead. For the smallest businesses valued at less than $500,000, approximately 3/4s (72%) of owners do not plan prior to putting their business on the market. Even for larger businesses over $5 million, only about 25% plan more than a year in advance.

As we end the longest bull run in history to find ourselves in wholly unprecedented conditions, I have to wonder how long our country’s entrepreneurs will remember this struggle and plan accordingly.

If there’s any benefit, perhaps more business owners will think strategically about their financial future. Instead of waiting to hit a certain milestone age, or waiting for some trigger in their life, perhaps we’ll see more business owners planning to exit on their own terms.

Exiting on one’s own terms simply means identifying and knowing your professional, personal, and profit goals to maximize the success of the next chapter in your life.

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