Every entrepreneur can relate to the first time they knew their business was going to work and be successful. Sometimes it’s when they cash the very first check or receive customer validation through a testimonial. Looking back on that nostalgic time is a positive memory that brings good emotions.
However, once the glamour fades and the owner experiences some challenging times, owning a business can be less fun. It can be exhausting to go through the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of day to day operations, and feel like you are getting nowhere. If emotional and physical reserves are low, you may be approaching burnt out. It’s a terrible place to be and if left unchecked, it will be devastating to your company’s value.
It’s important to spot the warning signs BEFORE burnout destroys everything you worked for.
Patrick Lange, business broker with Business Modification Group sees this regularly and shared with us the warning signs to look out for.
You’ve lost the drive to learn new things
Just like any other industry, HVAC owners have to keep pace by taking advantage of manufacturer-sponsored educational opportunities. New technologies can be leveraged to drive down costs or gain a competitive advantage. If you have lost the internal motivation to teach yourself new things, the business will eventually suffer.
Training and mentoring employees is a chore
Inspiring others and taking an active role in their professional development is among the best uses of owner time. If you no longer take joy in this and are indifferent to their long term success, it could be a strong indication you are burned out, and you should sell the business now.
You want to scale back without a plan
Freedom and flexibility are among the two most popular reasons to own an HVAC company. The owner gets to decide when and how hard they want to work. Lange has seen first hand how aging owners work less and as a result, sell less volume than they did just a few years earlier. “The problem is buyers only base their offers on the current business performance, not what the company used to do. Scaling back isn’t a bad thing, just make sure you have the people and processes in place to handle business in your absence so you can keep revenues high.”
Your marriage and other relationships are strained
Starting and building a business can be grueling on family relationships. Missing family dinners, working on weekends and getting called out on emergencies take its toll on the ones you love the most. Operating an HVAC business is a sacrifice for them too – and one they didn’t ask for. So, if your wife is asking for a different life, it may be time to sell the business before it’s too late.
Climbing through hot attics and lifting heavy air handlers is a young man’s game. If you’re no longer up for the physical work and it takes days for your knees and back to recover after a job, it may be time to sell your business.
Distracted by shiny things
True entrepreneurs love creating. If your current HVAC business seems boring and you want to get involved with another venture, it may be time to think about selling your business before the distraction takes its toll.
Looming health issue
A cruel reality of life is that the older we get, the higher the chances of developing a health problem. Diseases like Parkinson’s, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s can derail the best-laid plans. It’s best to sell the business while you still can enjoy some quality of life.
Starting, building, and selling a business for life-changing money is an achievement most people can never claim. Just like when you started the business and had a window of opportunity, there is also a window to exit. Successfully selling your HVAC business will recapture those positive emotions once again. The same startup elation and excitement can be had again, only this time, it’s positive emotions about what’s next in life.
About Patrick Lange:
Patrick Lange is an experienced HVAC specific business broker with Business Modification Group based in Horseshoe Beach, Florida. He has a unique background in financial planning and has even owned an HVAC business himself. This makes him well suited to working with some of the most successful HVAC business owners in the country. Specializing in companies with 1-10 million dollars in revenue, he maintains a network of buyers and sellers in the industry. He has sold more HVAC businesses than any other broker in the United States over the last 12 months and is currently the Vice President of the Business Brokers of Florida (North Florida District.)