Perhaps the most significant inflection/reflection point for a business owner is the “Day of the Wire,” a day I’ve lived out twice in my life. It’s the day you cash out, sell your business, and see how well your work has paid off.
In a way, it’s like Judgment Day without the pearly gates, because the Day of the Wire provides a final accounting of the time you’ve spent at the helm of your company—not in thousands of words, but in numbers that may be six to nine digits long. The sum you see wired into your bank account represents the present-day value, the goodwill, the growth, and the long-term potential you’ve infused into your business—and that means it can’t help but be a reflection of you.
Perhaps you’re not at that place with your business. Maybe you never intend to sell it. But, just pretend for a moment as though you are. Imagine yourself sitting at your desk, awaiting that wire. Will your pride on the Day of the Wire outweigh your regret? Will you be pleased by the value the market has placed on your energies and efforts? Or will you be wishing you could take a mulligan on the last few years and try again?
Those of you who have experienced an exit or “liquidity event” recognize the thought pattern here. Those of you who haven’t, well, perhaps it helps to think of other moments of change—a graduation, a wedding, the birth of a child, a health scare, or a significant death among friends or family. These, too, are times when we take stock. A chapter has ended; a new one is beginning. Are you happy with how things went? Are you optimistic about where things are going? Or have you made mistakes you don’t care to repeat?
As we approach the New Year, take the time to imagine how you’d feel on your hypothetical “day of the wire.” Based on your feelings and answers to the questions above, take the opportunity to make the changes that will give you satisfaction now, and/or on the day of an exit from your current business.