Think about the key decisions facing you. Perhaps you’ve been putting one of them off. Perhaps you’re facing one deadline or another – buying or selling a home, hiring or letting go of an employee, making a decision on your career or family path.
I turned 65 today so it was the deadline for applying for Social Security, a decision that’s been facing me for about 45 years. And since my 64th birthday I’ve been contemplating whether to take my Social Security and Medicare.
Five days ago, I still had not decided. So, I consulted one of my favorite teachers, Brad Roller, and he asked me:
“Is time your friend or your enemy on this one?”
It’s such a powerful question. Most big decisions need time between stimulus and response. Time can be a friend, and yet, if we wait too long we can end up rushed into significant choices – like I did with SS and Medicare.
When I sold my business ten years ago, I was fortunate to have Brad and other key friends by my side to coach me through the process that supported the sale.
On the ‘time is my friend’ side, we spent from 2002 to 2006 preparing the business for market. We came to the decision that someone with more resources could take it to the next level, and our team’s ceiling was closing in on us.
Prepping a business to be sold at fair value is really complicated. And so, for five long years, we used time wisely by viewing the firm and taking actions as if we were the buyer.
By January of 2007, we were ready to sell and so we started what would end up being a year-long cycle: the actual process of reviewing investment banks, choosing one who would ‘write our book’, soliciting, then sifting through preliminary offers until one was chosen to go to due diligence. If we got through all this, it would still have been several months until a deal could be closed.
On February 14th, the head of our selling team told me there was a firm that would like to negotiate without other bidders. I then had to decide: “Is time your friend or my enemy on this one?”
I believed time would become my enemy if I waited. I’d often heard, “it’s better to sell a day too soon than too late”.
We closed on the transaction less than 90 days later.
Timeliness proved essential since the housing bubble burst in summer of 2007 and by December a recession was confirmed by the Feds. The following March, those “too big to fail” began failing.
And so, after time was my friend for the preparatory years of sale of my business, that flip decision to view time as my enemy in 2007 was momentous.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, hiring or letting go of an employee, making a decision for your career or family path, it pays to consider Brad’s question: “Is time your friend or your enemy in this on this one?”