How Would You Like To Own This Business?

Linda LaitalaAround The Table, Business, Career, Leadership, Management, WorkLeave a Comment

Phil’s boss finally asked him THE QUESTION.

He had managed operations for several years and now the owner wanted to sell. This was his opportunity. Phil had lots of ideas and often offered suggestions for new products that would increase sales, but the owner disagreed, and nothing had been done. He said “Yes!” immediately. He could hardly wait to get home and share the news.

At 42, Phil loved his family and his busy life. His wife, a dedicated teacher, and his two teenage children were deeply involved in school and sports. He enjoyed participating in their many activities.

That evening Phil excitedly told his family about his decision to buy the company. His wife was less than thrilled. “Why didn’t you talk to us first?” she asked, “Did you even consider the impact this would have on our lives?” Didn’t they understand that this was what he had been working toward his whole career?

In the end, his family supported his decision. On signing day, Phil was thrilled to finally become an “owner.” Oh, the changes he would make!

Then reality set in.

First there was the learning curve. Phil’s involvement in the financial aspects of the company had been minimal; the owner’s crash course left his head spinning. He’d have to spend many hours getting up to speed.

Next, two key people gave notice. One was leaving for early retirement, the other to follow his own entrepreneurship dream. (A possible new competitor?) More unanticipated challenges!

Family time became markedly different because more often than not, Phil was still at work. He was spending all his time on things he had to do and no time on the things he loved to do. Something had to change.

He called a family meeting. He confessed he’d gotten overwhelmed with everything that had to be done at work and committed to spending more time with them in the future.

He needed advice in understanding his financial statements. His accountant helped him design a dashboard of key indicators for his business – the numbers he needed to know to measure success. The accountant also told Phil he was being “penny wise but pound foolish” by not hiring someone to do his old job. By trying to save a few dollars, he was jeopardizing the future of his company.

It took time, but Phil eventually grew to the place where his business didn’t “own” him, he owned his business, and his life was back on track.

How does your situation compare to Phil’s? Are you paying attention to the things you love to do?


The road is easier together,



Linda Laitala, President
Raven Performance Group

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