One of the things entrepreneurs plan for is the time that they will eventually sell their company. Currently many older business owners have found it difficult to reap the anticipated rewards of retirement. As the author of the Entrepreneur Exit Strategies for your Business pointed out, “it’s not enough to build a business worth a fortune; you have to make sure you have an exit strategy, a way to get the money back out.” If businesses were once very successful, the economy may have impacted their current worth. Even with what may once have been considered a strong exit strategy, plans may have been affected by the economic downturn.
Boomers trying to sell their businesses are receiving offers that are not enough to finance their retirement. In the Wall Street Journal article The Economy Stole My Retirement, it noted that one small business owner expected to sell for $2 million but recent losses from the recession has made that impossible. She now has seen offers as low as $250,000.
Business owners who had planned to travel and relax in their golden years are now spending 10-12 hours a day or more working to salvage companies. Some have no foreseeable chance of selling in the future. Many have put all of their money into their businesses and would have to live only on social security if they let the businesses fail.
While it is admirable to have high expectations for an entrepreneurial venture, it is the wise business owner who does not keep all of his or her eggs in one basket. Just as Enron employees learned the hard way, it is not a good idea to have all of your money invested in the company in which you work. If the company goes under, people not only lose their jobs but their life savings as well.