How To Prepare Your Auto Shop For Success Before You Retire
January 20, 2020 / "Repair Shop Software"
You might be dreading it, or you might be looking forward to it. Either way, retirement is down the road at some point and it’s better to be prepared than unprepared, of course. But, well, where should you start?
Ideally you should have a plan as soon as you open, just in case. Retirement isn’t always the reason owners need to sell their business. Because of this, it’s best to prepare for the unexpected. As an owner you don’t want to be caught off guard by an unforeseen life event. Having a plan in place from the get-go can help alleviate the stress if that occurs. Be Prepared isn’t just the Boy Scout motto, it’s a shop owner’s motto too.
If you don’t currently have a plan, you should start planning for retirement in your early 50s. This is a good time to begin thinking of your exit strategy, succession plan, and formulating what you need to make sure your transition to retirement is smooth when the time comes.
Weigh Your Options
Retirement doesn’t always look like you think it would. You may have this dream of retiring to a tropical island and living up your days in the sun, but if that doesn’t feel like your speed, there are other options. That’s right, selling your business completely or passing it on to someone else aren’t the only options available to you. You don’t even have to sell at all if you don’t want to. You could remain an owner while appointing a manager to run the day-to-day operations for you. Retirement doesn’t have to stand in between you and your business. It’s important to find the option that best suits you and how you’d like to enjoy your retirement. Take the time to explore them and think over them carefully.
Separate You From Your Business
Being an owner is such a personal experience. This shop is yours, you run it proudly, and it’s woven in deeply into your life. Sometimes the lines between you and your business can be blurred. Whether you eventually choose to sell or hire a manager to run your business for you—you’ll have to prepare to be separated. If your business currently relies mainly on you to function and suffers even when you’re away for a short break, that’s a key warning sign. This means it’s time to start figuring out how to help your business run like you’re there, even when you’re not. Easier said than done, we know.
Solidify Your Processes
A place you can start when you start to pry yourself away from the daily inner-workings of your business is figuring out your processes. Processes are the heart of your business. And they need to be written down. Actionable, repeatable, and templated methods that any employee can learn and duplicate are what you should aim for—and automation is even better. Technology at every level of your business will either make it more attractive to buyers, or help alleviate any stress or headaches during a transition period.
The Road Ahead
Preparing for retirement can be a long process, and it will inevitably have bumps in the road as you make your plans and decisions, but starting early can help to avoid some pitfalls. Make sure to really consider your options, seek guidance if need be, and prepare prepare prepare as soon as possible.