The five types of post-exit business owner

Now What?

So here you are. You did everything right and achieved a successful exit. While this outcome may have been a deeply desired objective, life after reaching the destination can be as challenging as the journey has been. As with building your business, there is a process to building a life and an identity after exiting your business which many owners underestimate.

The struggle is very different at this stage: how to manage newly realised wealth while establishing a new vision for yourself. Often we meet clients who have devoted so many years to growing and developing a business that the transition from being an owner to ‘something else’ comes as an unexpected shock. Many say ‘it doesn’t feel the way it was supposed to’ or ‘I worked so hard to get here - how come I’m not satisfied?’.

Part of the answer is that many successful owners to have done little or no preparation for what comes next following a departure from a business or partnership. If owners don’t carve out some time and space to consider what kind of life and lifestyle they wish to pursue after they leave, the impacts may be far reaching both financially and personally. We often meet former owners who say that finding post-exit fulfilment has been one of their biggest challenges. Making this transition work for you, your finances and your wellbeing is really critical.

As with the exit strategy, the post-exit life ideal might not end up being the reality. But putting some thought into what the desired path might be at a minimum can give former owners an initial focus and direction. That’s why we advocate a multi-faceted approach that can both suit a range of post-exit personalities while evolving with individual changes in preferences.

Post-exit personalities

‘Go Again’: The Serial Entrepreneur

Building businesses is what this person does best. Whether starting again or making an acquisition, the serial entrepreneur is happiest taking on the challenges of new growth and management. Success the first time is not enough – they have an urge to go again. 

The Adviser

This type has amassed a lot of experience and expertise and is in a position to help other businesses achieve their goals. Sharing wisdom with other business owners as a consultant or a non-executive board member can provide a satisfying coda to a successful career as an entrepreneur.  

The Investor

Free from the daily grind of running a company, the investor is at liberty to apply their insight to discovering and backing new ventures and opportunities. This could take the form of seeding start-ups with capital, taking private equity stakes in growing companies, or building specialist portfolios with a range of investments. 

Sail off into the Sunset

Some business owners just want to enjoy the fruit of the labours. For them, their motivation all along was to build up enough wealth so that they could enjoy life comfortably. Travel, time with family or perhaps a home abroad beckons.

The Giver

The Giver often has made a deep personal commitment to fund a chosen cause. They want to use their wealth to "give back" and will devote as much attention to their philanthropic strategy and trust or foundation structuring as they gave to running their business. 

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