Most people think of starting a business as risky, but unless you invest a significant amount of start-up cash in your venture, you’re not really risking much other than your time.
However, that changes if you’re lucky enough to get your business off the ground. As your company grows, you start to risk more and more of your wealth because the business you’ve built is actually worth something. The longer you hang on to it, the more you have to lose.
This phenomenon makes owners become more risk averse as their business grows, potentially slowing or stopping growth to avoid risking what they’ve created. This can mean the owner goes from a company’s great asset to its biggest liability.
Many business owners are tired of the feeling of being “all in” at the poker table. And after building something successful and want to enjoy financial security rather than having to roll winnings into even more debt and expansion that he would have to personally guarantee with the bank.
And therein lies one of the hidden reasons owners decide to sell. They are tired of shouldering all of the risk. Most of us have a limited appetite for risk, and, as the Bob Dylan song goes, “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” Start-ups aren’t risking much, but when you build something successful, every day that you decide to keep it is another day you have all (or most) of your chips on the table, and, no matter how strong your hand, eventually we all decide to cash in.