“By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” 

Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States of America 


Few people are a success in business by accident and equally careful thought and planning are vital to ensure an exit from your business is as successful as your career.

You do not have to go through the process on your own. Talking to a financial planner at an early stage, who will examine your business and family circumstances in great detail and establish your life goals, commitments and aspirations, will smooth the transition.

Choose your own adventure

In our exclusive research Enough Now: The Psychology of Selling Your Business, more than a third (35%) of people experienced a ‘wake-up call’ such as health issues, divorce, or the loss of loved ones that persuaded them they need to exit.

And for most, selling their business ‘felt like having their soul ripped out’.

Only six per cent decided to sell because they received an offer.

Rather than waiting for traumatic events to dictate actions, be the master of your own destiny. ‘Be mindful of the exit you want’ is sound advice from one of the business owners who took part in the research – plan well in advance and sell on your own terms.

Prepare for the culture shock

Several owners described to the business psychologists Carter Corson who we commissioned to look into this understudied area, how disconcerting it was to visit their former company after they had left and be treated like a stranger – one was made to stand at the front desk to be handed their post, another expressed how odd it felt to ring the bell to enter.

Many had to think about buying a mobile phone for the first time in years. Similarly, the process of leaving was described by one as almost a ‘walk of shame’ carrying a box with his things to the car.

Former owners reported a sense of relief after they sell up. However, those who identified strongly with the business struggled to come to terms with their new identity. “Where do you get your satisfaction and self-worth going forward?

Find your new purpose

Business owners are extraordinarily hard-working so having time on their hands feels alien, even uncomfortable.

An exit is not so much about shedding responsibilities but taking the next steps on life’s journey and having an open mind about what lies ahead.

We acknowledge that by digging into what your plans are and how we can facilitate them – it is rare the golf-and-sun phase lasts long, if at all.

Despite plans to do nothing, retire or dream of ‘flying around the world’, more than half of the Enough Now business vendors didn’t stop working at all!

Many owners who sell have other businesses they still control. Others look for new ventures, set up as business consultant or take on non-executive roles in other businesses.

In the end, three quarters of the respondents set up other businesses.

Philanthropy is also a huge draw for wealthy people who want to share the fruits of their labours. This requires careful management for optimum results.

Plan ahead

A former business owner contributed this post-sale wisdom: “Know what to do after – if you stop, have some sort of role.”

With all the new possibilities open to you, it makes sense to have someone you can trust looking after your financial interests as you strategise your next moves and will be there to guide you when you want to revisit your post-exit plans.

Read an executive summary of our exclusively commissioned research Enough Now: The Psychology of Selling Your Business or sign up to receive the full report free here.

Clarion Wealth Planning are Chartered Financial Planners, specialising in true lifelong financial planning and investment management. 

If it is your time to say enough now and reap the rewards of your hard work or are looking for full lifelong financial planning to secure the retirement you deserve, please do call to arrange an appointment with one of our expert financial planners, +44 (0)1625 466 360 or email us an enquiry at enquiries@clarionwealth.co.uk 


If you’d like more information about this article, or any other aspect of our true lifelong financial planning, we’d be happy to hear from you. Please call +44 (0)1625 466 360 or email enquiries@clarionwealth.co.uk.

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