Why are people like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Michael Dell still working when they could easily be retired on the beach somewhere? John Warrillow, author of Built to Sell, wondered about this in a recent blog post.
The answer is, of course, that they love what they do and their businesses are an expression of their creativity. Plus they’d get bored without it…
How appealing it would be: to do more of what we love, and what we are good at. That might mean ‘retiring’ from a successful business, or it might mean continuing with running the business, or parts of the business.
At K&H, we have done a lot of work over the last year or so defining and refining the essence of our Income & Share Ownership (ISOP) specialism. ISOP is basically succession planning for business owners, so that they can pass on as much or as little of their business as they wish to family or employees, giving them more time to do what they love doing – whether that be in retirement, or in the business.
As we work with increasing numbers of clients on this, I understand much better the psychology of the typical business owner and in particular, what drives their behaviour and decision-making around their ‘retirement’. I put the word ‘retirement’ in quotes because nearly everyone who uses this word now means something different by it.
John Warrillow recommends that you list all the things you would love doing and would like to do more of if you had enough money to retire. Then you should work out how you can do those things now, while keeping control of as much of your business as you want.
John calls this un-retirement, but I prefer the expression soft retirement, in the sense of soft holidays (where you work on and off while on leave to keep things ticking over, clearing emails etc.).
The ISOP approach is all about structuring the business ownership and management around this soft retirement. That way you can pass across as much of the responsibility and ownership as you want, as gradually as you want, while getting all the tax benefits usually reserved for those selling the business outright.
What would you love to do in your soft retirement? And what changes can you make in your business to move towards doing more of what you love?