Small business owners may sell their businesses for several reasons, such as retirement planning, estate planning or the desire to move on to new challenges. Owners also may sell because adverse economic conditions have reduced profitability. If you have sold your business recently and are not yet ready for retirement, you can bounce back and reignite that entrepreneurial spirit. However, there is no need to rush. Slow down and take the time to plan your next venture.
1.Work with the new owner to facilitate a smooth transition. The selling agreement may stipulate that the previous owner will stay on for a few months to help the new owner sort out operational details and customer relationships. Depending on the complexity of your business, assist in the transition as a part-time consultant, which leaves time for you to do other things.
2.Park the cash proceeds from the sale of your business in safe and liquid assets. This should give you some breathing room to plan the next steps in your life carefully. Examples of safe assets include bank checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and Treasury bills. The advantages of these assets include safety of principal and liquidity, which means that you have almost immediate access to the funds.
3.Spend some time with family members. Go on a fishing trip or a skiing vacation. Read books and learn how to cook. In other words, do all the things that you could not do before because you were too busy with your business. Spending some time away from the hectic schedule of running a small business should help you bounce back even stronger once you decide on your next venture.
4.Believe in your resilience. This is especially important if you had to sell your previous business because you ran into financial difficulties. In a Harvard Business School Working Knowledge article published in 2002, senior editor Diane L. Coutu says you can recover from hardship if you accept reality, improvise and believe that life has meaning. Having only one or two of these qualities might be enough to bounce back, she says, drawing a distinction between bouncing back and being resilient. True resilience requires all three, she says.
Continue networking with venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs. Visit trade shows, attend business conferences and volunteer to join boards of charitable organizations. The idea for your next venture can come from the discussions you have with these contacts. More importantly, networking helps you stay in touch with key industry players, some of whom might be looking for an experienced entrepreneur — even if your recent business failed — for a management or advisory position.