Selling Your IT Business: Thriving in the Second Half of your Life
As M&A professionals, we work with owners of IT services businesses who are contemplating the sale of their company. These owners come from all walks of life, but all have one thing in common: they are at a crossroads.
On one hand, they’re rightfully proud of what they built. Many have created successful businesses that employ incredible people and provide valuable services. Most are financially secure, and they have the freedom to do whatever they want with their time.
On the other hand, they’re also feeling the effects of age. Many are tired or bored, or simply ready for change.
Almost all think about what they’ll do next.
If you are contemplating a sale, consider reading “From Strength to Strength” by Arthur C. Brooks. The author’s research demonstrates the second half of life is a time for great opportunity and fulfillment. He writes “the next chapter is a time to leverage your strengths, find new purpose, and make a real difference in this world.”
Brooks provides numerous insights that can be transformative to IT services business owners considering the sale of their business. Based on extensive research, he points out the second half is a time to leverage a lifetime of knowledge and experience. This is an asset as we age, and it can (and should) be used to create new opportunities and give back to the next generation.
The book points out the second half of life is a time when we are more likely to be motivated by purpose than money. This means if you are selling your IT services business, you should think about what you want to do with your life and business experiences. What are your passions? What do you want to still achieve? Once you identify that roadmap, you can start looking for opportunities to leverage these strengths and experience to ensure a more fulfilling future.
If this means slowing down and balancing ways to give back at a different pace, great. Conversely, if this means shedding the life of grinding through customer demands and delivery issues so you can mentor, advise or teach, then the time to sell is now.
A few highlights:
- “The second half of life is a time to leverage our strengths.” This means you should take stock of your abilities and experience. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Once you identify your strengths, you can start looking for opportunities to share them post sale.
- “The second half of life is a time to find new purpose.” This means if you are selling your business, you should think about your passions. What do you want to achieve? You’d be amazed at how this simple exercise can recalibrate your life’s work.
- “The second half is a time when we are more likely to be motivated by purpose than by money.” This means you should not be afraid of losing a steady stream of annual income to following your calling. In most cases, your financial future will be taken care of by the proceeds from a sale. This allows you to focus on selling your business to a buyer who shares your vision and will continue to grow the business and care for your people. They will provide a soft landing for your employees and customers, and ensure your legacy following your exit. Sadly, many owners risk the dangers of holding on too long due to ego and losing influence at a more advanced age.
Nothing illustrates this better than Logan Roy, the patriarch from the HBO series “Succession.” He’s a ruthless and ambitious man determined to maintain control of his company even as he reaches the deep winter of his life. However declining health is taking its toll on his ability to lead. His children are vying for control of the company and willing to do whatever it takes to assume control (even if their motives are based in greed, entitlement, and dysfunction).
Logan’s life is a cautionary tale about the dangers of holding on to your business too long. He was so focused on maintaining control that he lost sight of the big picture. As you contemplate selling your IT business, don’t pull a Logan Roy.
If you are considering selling your IT business, read “From Strength to Strength” and then let’s talk. With careful planning and preparation, you can sell your business and create a bright future in the second half of your life.