What's Next For Your Business? Experts Offer Some Direction During National Automatic Merchandising Association OneShow In Chicago

Once a business has been established, owners often face questions about what they should do with themselves and their companies later in life. One seminar at the National Automatic Merchandiser Association OneShow at McCormick Place North in Chicago attempted to answer those questions.

Business owners Bruce Leech and Dave Jackson found themselves pondering these questions after they sold their businesses. In the process of answering these questions, they formed a company called Evolve. Evolve is a peer group of business owners that meet each month and talk about what the next month looks like.

There are free online resources on evolve's Website (www.evolveusa.org) such as peer case stories and expert insights. There's also a program called "The Five Stages of Business Owner Transition" which is a forward-looking process that helps owners change their relationship with their business. And seeing as many of the baby boomers will be retiring in the next 15 years, this will be an issue for many business owners.

The five stages are: 1) visualize your life; 2: choose your buyer; 3) build your value 4) harvest your wealth; and 5) live your life.

Jackson spoke specifically about how transitioning is especially hard for entrepreneurs because they are programmed to be the answer person. Staff and customers come to them for answers.

He said there are two types of questions facing business owners in transition, financial (how to questions) and emotional (should I questions). Understanding these questions and the balance of business, family and market issues will help owners make an informed decision about their businesses they can feel good about.