Hi Aunty B,
I have a great business, which I have built up over the last 10 years. We have recently opened an interstate branch that after 14 months is now profitable.
The potential is there to open a branch in every major city in Australia and New Zealand, and perhaps beyond that. We have developed our infrastructure to the point where it is almost a turn-key operation to open another branch.
However here lies the problem. I think that I have lost the edge/interest in the business. I don’t have the motivation and enthusiasm I once had – in fact I feel quiet flat.
Could it be that I just need a damn long holiday or should I sell, considering the business is now in its optimum position to be sold to an investor or equity company?
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I met an entrepreneur recently at a book launch who told me a similar story. He had sold his young business for $10 million because he had lost the edge and was feeling a bit flat.
However this business is now a household name, and worth hundreds of millions. And at the book launch he was telling me that he was full of regret that he didn’t last the distance – not just for the financial rewards but for the challenge of building it to the next stage.
First thing Andrew: Don’t make any decisions now. Of course you need a long holiday. We all do.
Christmas is a bad time for entrepreneurs. Everyone is winding down, going to parties and having fun while we still lie awake at night worried about how to pay the BAS in February. As model bosses, we can’t even get drunk at our own Christmas party – how depressing is that!
So first of all you need some time out. Ask yourself what you have always wanted to do and treat yourself to something personal.
You sound adventurous, so make sure it is challenging and life changing to put things in perspective. Include some work on the end – what are your competitors in other countries doing? What could you do better?
While you are away, think of how to restructure the company. You need to change your role.
Make a list of some of the jobs you hate doing the most and assign them to others. Look at the support around you. Are people always blocking you or are they supporting and initiating expansion plans? Is your key management team working?
Many entrepreneurs I see in your position solve the flatness by bringing in a general manager or joining a support group of like-minded entrepreneurs.
I would also explore bringing in an equity investor. They can help you expand much faster, remove financial pressures, bring key skills and add an extra dimension to your business.
Lastly, I would also visit the doctor and have a full medical check to make sure the flatness is not untreated depression. You are right about one thing – you need a change.
But make sure you are in the right frame of mind to make the right change. And remember my story of the flat entrepreneur. I can hear him right now yelling “Don’t sell!”.
Your Aunty B