With their sardonic, country-flavored pop/rock style, Dr. Hook was a hugely popular band in the 1970s.
In early 1973, Dr. Hook released their tongue in cheek single The Cover of ‘Rolling Stone’, satirizing the ultimate symbol of success in the music industry.
“Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smiling face
On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone”
The song was an instant top ten hit for Dr. Hook and resulted in them appearing, in caricature, on the 29 March 1973 cover of the iconic Rolling Stone magazine under the title “What’s-Their-Names Make the Cover”.
Like the music world and Rolling Stone, you know you’ve achieved ultimate success in the business world when you see yourself on the cover of a magazine like Forbes, Fortune or Inc.
The ultimate exit
Entrepreneurs who find themselves in the fortunate position of pulling off a spectacular business exit often end up on the cover of those sort of magazines.
In our last couple of posts, we looked at the emotional turmoil business owners often experience during their business exit, and afterwards if their exit doesn’t go as planned.
You may be surprised to hear that achieving a very successful exit can also be a source of real emotional turmoil for many business owners. In countries like Australia this is often exacerbated by our unfortunate “tall poppy syndrome”, the tendency to want to drag down those who achieve significant success.
Really understanding what success means to you is critical as a business owner, because everyone reacts differently to a highly successful business exit at an emotional level. While everyone’s exact emotions will differ; let’s take a look at what to be prepared for generally if you do pull off the ultimate exit.
I think it’s often helpful to think of success for business owners as falling into two categories - “public” and “private” success.
From my experience, a lot of business owners struggle with public success when they exit their business well.
They get concerned people will think they just got lucky, don’t deserve their success or didn’t really work that hard. They get frustrated most people just see a big number and don’t appreciate or understand the hard work, determination and risk taking that was involved in building a business they could successfully sell.
The problem is public success is usually fairly simplistic. It’s typically along the lines of, “Did you hear Tom just sold his business for $12 million?”
It can’t convey what you’ve actually achieved; most won’t understand it at all. They will just have a view you have achieved success, and the level of success they perceive will invariably be measured against their own ﬁnancial circumstances.
Private success is subtler and a much more important factor for a successful business seller.
Business owners often feel enormous contentment when they achieve a good business exit, as well as a sense of relief that their vision, belief and hard work have been recognized. It soothes – in a way nothing else can – the fear that haunts all business owners; that the blood, sweat and tears of building their own business might not ultimately be worth it.
As a business owner, a successful business exit is the most tangible expression of success you can have. It conﬁrms that what you built was of real value - the marketplace has definitively spoken.
There’s also a deep satisfaction that only you can know, because you walked every mile of your business journey, dealt with every challenge and kept going when the odds seemed insurmountable. You did the hard things when required and threw every ounce of creativity and energy you had at your business to get to the ﬁnish line.
Anticipate and understand yourself
So what do you do with your range of emotions and reactions around a highly successful business exit?
The most important thing is to anticipate and understand them. You can then deal with them in whatever way best suits you. If you’re comfortable being known as someone who sold a multi-million-dollar business, be that person and enjoy the kudos and further opportunities that will come from it. If you’re not, you can choose to be lower key about your successful exit.
Ultimately, you will get your real enjoyment from your private success, that deep feeling of satisfaction. The only people who will feel this with anything like the same level of intensity will be your business partners (if you have them), your family and close friends. Share your success with this small group of people who really do understand it and are genuinely happy for you.
If you’re ready to take the next steps towards building a highly sellable business and achieving a successful business exit , get in touch with us now to find out more about our Value Builder Program.