- My wife and I have 3 kids.
- The 2 youngest are twins.
- The twins graduated from high school this week.
I’ll let that sink in for a few seconds…
That means that in a less than 3 months, my wife and I will have all 3 of our kids in college, which in itself, is a mind-bending thought, but right now we are trying to come to terms with how the last 18 years flew by.
I’m pretty good with numbers so when they were born in 2003, I was very aware that in the spring of 2022, this event was coming. At the time, we thought “yeah, 2022, like that’s even a real year.”
I should have been more prepared but here we are.
You know how it is – you get caught up in the day-to-day business of raising kids and dealing with everything from diapers to daycare to driver’s licenses. You lose sight of the long trip ahead when all you’re trying to do is keep the car from skidding off the road.
FYI, in 21 years of parenthood, I NEVER ONCE said “Don’t make me stop this car”; so I have that going for me.
There are things I’m going to have to get used to because it’s happening whether I’m ready for it or not.
- After our son’s last track meet and our daughter’s last softball game, I suddenly realized that we are no longer “sports parents.” There are no more practices to drive to or sidelines to cheer from.
- Some of the parents that we’ve known since our kids were in kindergarten have become dear friends and I wonder when we will see each other.
- There are no more lunches to pack, forgotten homework to deliver, or permission slips to sign (or to be expertly forged by my kids).
- We won’t see our kids every day.
Let me be clear. With all of this happening, my wife and I couldn’t be more proud and we can’t wait to see who they become. We have been very fortunate. We don’t, and should never, take that for granted.
If you own a business, there’s a good chance you might want to sell it someday and chances are you’ll go through a similar set of issues. It will change what you do, who you are and who you see every day. I’ve seen it many times.
We knew for a fact that in June of 2022, these kids would be saying goodbye to high school and then shipping off to college – you won’t see such a clear timeline.
As a business owner, you can’t always pick a time or set the agenda for a sale. Even though you’re used to calling the shots day-to-day, that luxury may not be open to you.
What if you received an unsolicited offer for your company right now? There are lots of questions, like:
- What is the value of your business to YOU, and maybe more importantly, what is the value to the BUYER?
- Is the price offered the right price and does the deal have the right structure (whatever “right” means)?
- Are you mentally and emotionally ready for the changes that this transaction will bring to your identity, to your family, and to the lives of your employees?
- What happens when you suddenly go from owning business assets (machinery, buildings, employees, customer relationships, software, etc.) to owning liquid assets (essentially a pile of dollar bills)?
- What do you want your legacy to be?
Can you confidently address these, and a hundred more questions?
I’ve worked with clients who, like all of us parents, were consumed with keeping things going, getting from Monday to Friday, and making sure that the things that needed to get done got done. I can’t say that I blame them but when the offer came unannounced, it was terrifying.
If you own a business, you make literally hundreds of decisions and you’re involved in probably thousands of transactions. Every single agreement, contract, deal, or discussion with suppliers, customers, employees, and anybody else culminates in one single transaction.
Look, I’m not trying to be an alarmist here. All I’m saying is that I know it’s a heck of a lot easier when you can plan for an event than if you have a “surprise graduation.”
Yeah, my situation is different. I saw this coming 18 years ago – but I’m STILL not ready for it.
And now some words of wisdom from people who aren’t me.
- “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe
- “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation” - Seneca
- “Twins amount to a permanent riot; and there ain't any real difference between triplets and an insurrection.” – Mark Twain
Be good and be well.