Recently I sold a division of my business. I had owned a retail business that sold new and used foodservice equipment for over 30 years. We also have a division that does auctions and liquidations for major chain stores. Over the last couple of years, I have felt it was time to sell the retail part. It was the most time-consuming part of the business. I could handle everything else in blocks of time.
Over the last twelve months, we developed a plan to sell the business’s retail portion to one of our employees. That was a tedious process, but late in December, we signed the paperwork, and he became the new owner effective January 1 of this year.
People have asked me how it felt to be free. The truth is I still have plenty to do with the other things that we own, and there are loose ends to tie up from the sale of the business. I am going to find something to do regardless. But at the end of the first week, I noticed three things that were missing that were a relief. If you are a business owner, you most likely can appreciate these.
Selling equipment is a high overhead business. It is challenging to sell it if you do not have it. Foodservice equipment is large and takes up a lot of space. We had over 50,000 square feet of space, and it was packed full. We had five full-time employees. Rent and payroll costs were around $20,000.00 per month. This cost did not include any other regular expenses, only rent and payroll. People had asked about my new-found freedom, but the first Friday with no payroll was the first time I felt it. Some weeks were no problem, but it was stressful to make sure the business could pay everyone and still operate. That was the first relief I noticed.
I am still consulting with the new owner to help guide him as he starts. A recent conversation we had over the weekend was about scheduling. He needed three things done on Monday, but there were only two trucks and two employees to do them. He was trying to determine what was most important and efficient. Money also played a factor. Those scheduling headaches can be challenging to manage. Everyone believes they are the most important, and telling them they have to wait an extra day or two can create tension that no one enjoys. I was glad I didn’t have to make a choice.
I am a professional procrastinator when it comes to bookkeeping. It is not that I cannot do it, it is the fact that I tend to be a sales side person, and if it does not generate income, it usually gets put to the back of the line. That can cause some pain at times, and I have learned some expensive lessons by not being more diligent. With no payroll and no day to day transactions, the overall bookkeeping load is way down. I have been catching up on things that I had put off for over a year. It is almost exciting. My accountant will be happy.
I know over the next few months, there will be other moments when I recognize new freedom. I know my mental capacity is much freer already, and I am excited about the days ahead. I pray for the new owner. I pray for other business owners. Many people think it is all freedom and wealth. I know that it is often stress and debt. But they are fulfilling what they believe they need to be doing, and many of us benefit from their sacrifice. I am thankful for the relief I am experiencing, and I look forward to channeling my energy in other places where I feel called.