Life after the sale

Jerry Jendusa recently sold his business, and he’s had a lot of interest from Milwaukee-area businesses and nonprofits about how he plans to invest his financial windfall.

He’s also feeling out what his life will be like now that he’s not living and breathing New Berlin-based aerospace firm Emteq.

Many entrepreneurs end up in the same position that Jendusa is in when they sell their business. Take Jim Lindenberg, who sold Waukesha-based World Class Wire and Cable in 2008, then the Milwaukee Wave in 2013, and now owns local sports memorabilia chain Legends of the Field.

“People come out of the woodwork when you sell a company,” Lindenberg said. “One of the reasons you’re successful is you have a huge network, and when you sell a business, your network gets even larger.”

Lindenberg advises entrepreneurs in exit mode to slow down, recharge and evaluate their options before jumping into anything, unlike what he did.


“There’s five to 10 great business ideas that everyone runs by you every day, so you have to put up a shield a little bit and just slow down,” Lindenberg said.

Mergers and acquisitions advisors provide guidance to clients all the time during the sale process.

One easy path to take: Enjoy living the easy life. Golf, travel, new hobbies and other activities keep many owners busy post-sale, said Robert Jansen, managing director at Milwaukee-based Bridgewood Advisors Inc.


“We always want to make sure that they have some kind of activity that interests them that keeps them going after the sale,” said Vicki Fox, managing director at Eisen Fox & Co. LLC in Milwaukee. “A lot of times this has been their whole life, so it’s easier to transition if they have hobbies or things that they like to do.”

It’s important to invest the proceeds in a way that will provide a comfortable lifestyle going forward, Fox said.


“While a wealth preservation plan should be established well before the sale of the business, investing the proceeds from the sale to best meet the entrepreneur’s objectives is a key element in achieving other goals,” Jansen said.

Most sellers have also identified charities they’re involved with to increase their charitable giving, Fox said.

If an entrepreneur plans to start another business, it’s important to be cognizant of non-compete agreements, which could last as long as five years, she said.

And some entrepreneurs continue to be involved in business, but from an investment standpoint. Some, Fox said, even invest in private equity companies they’ve met during the sale process.

“For those not looking to play a hands-on role in building another company, I’ve also seen successful entrepreneurs join company boards and provide early stage capital for other companies to grow,” Jansen said.

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