One of the things I ask all my clients when I first meet with them is what the business will look like when it is finished, and when that is likely to be? Of course the point of this is to give us a clear target in terms of business size and the timescale in which we wish to do this. However, the response, more often than not, is a rather bewildered look, and then a vague generalisation, which when really pushed, turns out to be that they have never really thought about it clearly. Now I realise that many people love what they do, and can never envisage a time in which they wont be doing it, but even for those people, Father Time eventually catches up, and they find that it would be nice at least to be in a position where they can choose whether they want to work or not. So at least setting a target for when the business can work without you, should be something to determine.
Equally well there are lots of people who specifically set up their business so they can make more money and retire at an early age. But whichever category you put yourself into, planning ahead and setting targets for your business is essential, so you can ensure that your income (either from sale of business, pension etc etc) will support the life style you envisage on your retirement.
So how do you know when you will be financially secure to let you retire? Well at least you can start by doing a rough and ready estimation, including all the goals you have set for yourself, and the money this will cost, plus the basic costs of living the life style you want to pursue after retirement. You can then work out roughly how much you need from your business, and therefore when that should be possible. There are also computer programs which allow you to do this, and I now have someone whom I have set up an alliance with, who can help you with this process.
As a coach I believe it is my role, not only to help business owners to build their businesses and create a better life for them and their families, but also to ensure that they plan even further ahead to make sure their retirement is also a very long and happy one.