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Post-Exit Exit Planning: Page 2 of 3

With careful planning and some soul searching, channel pros who sell their business can have a new beginning—whether’s that’s another career or retirement. By Carolyn Heinze
Reader ROI: 
SELF-REFLECTION prior to selling your IT service business can help chart a smooth transition to the next phase of life.
DEFINE YOUR sense of purpose, and create a plan or enlist professionals to help you achieve professional/personal objectives.
IF RETIREMENT is the goal, include your spouse or partner in planning, and try a “dry run” if you intend a move to a new home.

Create a “Business Plan” for Your Life

Hal Shelton, a Washington, D.C.-based mentor at SCORE Association, a national organization that provides mentoring and education to small and midsize business owners, advises would-be retirees to draw up an informal “personal business plan” to work through how they will be spending their time. “The format’s not important, but it’s envisioning what post your current role would be,” explains Shelton, who is also an investor in early-stage tech companies, and author of The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan.

Hal Shelton

The plan could identify “work-related” goals, such as joining boards of directors, teaching, or writing a book, or activities such as volunteering, taking up a new hobby, or re-exploring an old one, notes Shelton.

Rex Frank encourages channel pros to look to professionals for help with creating a plan for retirement, just as they do when they are preparing to sell their business. “Everybody thinks about their lawyer and their CPA, but I don’t think people find somebody to be a life coach, or mentor, or spiritual adviser––they’re not reaching out for that,” says Frank, vice president of academy at distributor Pax8, which recently acquired Frank’s company Sea Level Operations, an edcation and coaching firm for IT service providers. And yet, he adds, it’s advisers like these who can help would-be retirees define what fulfillment means to them.

Build a New Social Life

While they may have friends outside of work, channel pros spend the bulk of their days interacting with employees, vendors, and clients. You may promise to remain in touch with these people after you sell the business, but in reality that’s unlikely, according to Gilbert.

“I would encourage people to be intentional––starting maybe three years before retirement––to start getting engaged in things outside of your work environment with people that are totally unconnected to your business environment,” Gilbert advises. Getting involved in volunteering, or consulting your local Meetup dedicated to an activity of interest, are a couple of ways to start forming new friendships.

About the Author

CAROLYN HEINZE is a regular freelance contributor to ChannelPro-SMB.

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