How hard is it to let go of the business you built?

You are an entrepreneur and built up a business. You are getting older and you have a choice, you can give/sell the business to your kids or you can sell the business to a third party. Is that an easy thing to do?

Many people who have built up a business find it hard to let go of their business. They want to slow down but they still want to call the shots. I am aware of a business where the father built up a successful business. He would travel to Florida and lived there for 3 months and he would let his kids who were in the 50’s t0 run the business.

Even though he was in Florida, he wanted to still be informed daily of what was going on and he still had to approve of what the kids did. He then appointed an heir to run the business but this was one of the kids, two of the kids were left out and in fact one left the family business.

Father and son ran the business. Father did not want to retire and he lived his retirement through his son. He knew that he did not have the ability to run the business on a day to day basis, he knew that he did not have the memory and could not think as well therefore this was a perfect fit for him until the day that the son passed away. The other two son’s were estranged, no other family members knew what was going on and eventually, the banks closed down the business.

What should you learn from this? Letting go means letting go. If you do not allow your successor to appoint a second in command, you will have no backup for an emergency. I know another entrepreneur and I have always said that he would run the business from his grave because he still wants to be the business decision maker even though he is in his 80’s. I understand that many older people believe that they have nothing to do, they have no hobbies, they will die quickly out of boredom. I heard of a case where the old owner required as part of the sale agreement an office. He would go to work every day, sleep at his desk and then go home but he kept up the routine. He just had a place to go. He never understood why people did not show up on certain days ie statutory holidays because he was not keep track of days.

He was not active in the business but it was his routine and it probably kept him going for years.