Two Types of Business Owner

How high is high? Entrepreneurs Never Know When to Say ‘Enough’!

Conservative business owners know when it’s time to say “Enough”. How will you know when it’s the right time to sell your business….?

Looking back over the more than twenty years I’ve been in business sales, I’ve learned that there are many different types of business owners. I have ‘sorted’ the types of owners into a ‘spectrum’ of personality types.  

At one end of the spectrum are the “conservative” types. These people like to really be sure about the business details. They want to know every detail. And don’t feel comfortable unless they’re on top of everything. They like financials, statistics and accounts. They will take a long time to make a decision. These guys love to plan everything and hate feeling disorganised. So planning ahead makes them feel good that everything’s under control.

At the other end of the spectrum are the “entrepreneurs”. These people are far more likely to make a decision on “gut instinct”. They’ll make quick decisions. Usually these types love negotiating the price and ‘doing deals’. Planning ahead often seems like a waste of time for entrepreneurs as they are too busy running their businesses and making money.

Which personality type are you? No one personality type is more successful than another. All have their virtues…. but I’ve noticed that most entrepreneurs never know when to say “enough!” – and often fail to recognise that they should plan to get out of their businesses.

How often have you seen a successful business grow and grow and expand…until it all falls apart. This is a not uncommon scenario for entrepreneurial business owners. Real entrepreneurs (those business owners at the far end of the spectrum) push everything to the edge, wanting to find the limit of their business. And it’s usually worked for them. These people love the challenge, they like to “back themselves” and take risks others wouldn’t take.

We recently saw a successful business owner offered a huge price for his business. And he considered selling. Before deciding to retain the business and keep pushing on…. and…ultimately crashing.  And losing the lot. He was happy. Because he had found the ‘limit’, and he is now going to go out and start all over again.

Don Schlitz, who wrote the song “The Gambler” made famous by Kenny Rogers, had some great advice for business owners.  The lyrics say “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

Business owners really do need to know when to “walk away”, and the best way to walk away is to plan for it. A planned business exit is always going to give better results than an unplanned one.

The old saying is true; “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”. If you’re an entrepreneur, take time, and force yourself to create a plan to sell or, at least, leave your business on your terms.

In other words, know when to say “ENOUGH”!

Bruce Coudrey – Principal Benchmark Business Sales and Valuations.

Australia’s Business Brokers.

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