By Susan Guillory

Recently, I turned 40. It got me thinking about my content marketing firm and what I want out of it long-term. Naturally, I’d like to retire at some point. But I realized: I need to have an idea of how and when that will happen now so I can work toward that goal.

What about you?

Do you know how and when you will exit your company? Maybe you will pass it on to a family member. Or sell it to someone else. Maybe you want to keep working until you can’t anymore.

These are all thought-provoking options, aren’t they? Let’s work on addressing them together.

Where Do You See Yourself In…

That question always seemed lame to me in job interviews. I’d answer, “I see myself working here in five years!”

But now that you’re running your own business, the answer is nothing but what you want. Consider where you see yourself in five, 10, 30 years. What does your business look like? What does your life after your business look like? Simply visualizing what things will be like down the road can give you insight into what you want.


How to Make It Happen

Even if you don’t plan to retire for 25 years, that doesn’t mean you can put off planning. First of all, you need savings so that you can afford not to work. If you’re not setting aside money for your nest egg now, start. Opening an IRA is a great way to get started, and those contributions will be tax-deductible.

If you plan to sell your business later on, you need to make it as appealing a buy as possible, and that starts now. Work to boost profits, expand operations, and otherwise polish up your business so that when it goes on the market, buyers will fight to buy it. Keep your finances straight; now’s a great time to enlist the aid of an accountant so that down the road, there’s an easy-to-read history of your business’ accounts.

If you want to pass your business on to your kids or other family member, start training them in the business now. They need to have increasing responsibilities so that when you’re ready to leave, they’re ready to take over.

It can be helpful to make a list of tasks that will get you on track with your plan. You may not need to tackle many of those items now, but putting them on your calendar will ensure that you keep that goal in mind over time.

Your end as an entrepreneur may not come for some time, but keeping that big-picture plan in mind will make it easier to transition into whatever comes next.