What can the game of tennis teach us about business?  A lot, according to Timothy Gallwey, an author that will be familiar to many of you.  The theme this month is inspired by the following excerpt from one of Gallwey’s books called The Inner Game of Tennis:

“A very wise person once told me, “When it comes to overcoming obstacles, there are three kinds of people. The first kind sees most obstacles as insurmountable and walks away. The second kind sees an obstacle and says, I can overcome it, and starts to dig under, climb over, or blast through it. The third type of person, before deciding to overcome the obstacle, tries to find a viewpoint where what is on the other side of the obstacle can be seen. Then, only if the reward is worth the effort, does he attempt to overcome the obstacle.”

In this quote, there are some parallels to selling your business.  Preparing your business for sale is not an easy task. There may be distractions and interferences that need to be overcome. You may feel that you do not have time to meet with a broker. You may feel unsure about life after the sale. You may be concerned about the well-being of your employee-family. These uncertainties may lead to one conclusion: do nothing.

What Gallwey proposes in order to overcome such interferences, is that you must first understand what is on the other side, or what is the reward that would warrant taking the journey. Gallwey is talking about finding meaning. Futility of effort is eliminated, and priorities fall into place when there is meaning…when there is a goal!

When a business owner asks us, “What’s my business worth?”  What they are really saying is, “Is there enough for me to…retire, or leave to my family, or pay off debt, or [your goal here]?”

Or, when we are asked, “How long will it take to sell?”  What we are really being asked is, “When can I…move near my grandchildren, or invest in that new venture, or eliminate the HR headaches, or [your goal here]?”

This even applies for buyers who want to know, “If the new business can…benefit from my experience, or increase my income, or allow me to move near family, or [insert goal here].”

At GAI, we understand that while business price, listing period and contract terms are crucial to any transaction, these things are truly incidental to one thing: YOUR GOAL. We also understand that the journey you must undertake to sell or buy your business becomes easier, manageable and meaningful when you have clearly articulated your goal, and everyone is working towards it.

As you consider your next steps, pause, and reflect on your goal, the reward you see on the other side. When you come in to see our team, be prepared to tell us about it. And whenever obstacles arise, or when you feel the pull of inaction, remind yourself, “What’s the goal?” and let it motivate you.

At GAI, our mission is to help buyers and sellers realize their personal and professional goals. Please contact us for a free consultation.