How to Tell When It’s Time for Change

Security Sales & Integration

The Big Idea with Ron Davis
October, 2015

How to Tell When It’s Time for Change

Steve RubinIf you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?

This month we feature Steve Rubin, one of my Partners at Davis Mergers & Acquisitions Group.


The best time to sell your business is when you have lost the passion and feel like not facing the challenges anymore. If you have started to feel like you don’t want to deal with whatever the day brings, it may be time to consider unloading what become a burden, and face new challenges

O‘ve known Steve Rubin for more than 40 years, and we have worked together for most of that time. Like my other partner, Dorsie Mosher (see September, 2015 column), Rubin has been integral to building our company, but because we work together, I never thought to interview him, until now. He is, unquestionably, one of the two or three most knowledgeable me in the industry who can answer the question, “What is one really great idea about when is the best time to sell your business?” he’s done it hundreds of times.
I know so many of our readers are approaching the stage in life where they are not sure what to do next. I thought this would be a good and timely topic. For those of you who are not thinking of selling your business or are company owners, you could substitue the phrase “change jobs,” move on,” “go back to school,” etc, for selling a business.
“The best time to sell your business is when you have lost the passion and feel like not facing the challenges anymore,” Rubin says. “What you do in life, is your life. It’s in your blood. If you have started to feel like you son’t want to deal with whatever the day brings, it may be time to consider unloading what has become a burden, and face new challenges.”
Of course, he is not talking about hte days you wake upa nd don’t particularly feel like going to work. Or the days you stare at your computer screen. We all have ups and downs, and that’s OK. I think what Rubin really menas is that if you have overcome all of the challenges of the work that you do, and you do not get and satisfaction for an extended period of time, it may be a good time to consider a change. Burnout is not a disease, but a state of mind. And it’s your mind that controls what provides you pleasure and satisfaction. I can’t recall any sellers of businesses who didn’t have some level of psychological burnout before they made the decision.
Certainly there are many other factors: Will you get all the money you need to have that is going to be there for the next stage of your life? Will you feel that you’ve accomplished all that you can in the work you’re doing? Will you walk away with few regrets? Is your family supportive? Would you be happy selling if you could stay with the business on a part-time basis? The list could go on for a long time.

I’ve known sales people who wanted to become sales managers, office clerks who wanted to become office managers, installers and service people who hoped to take on the responsibility of running the operations department and, of course, owners of businesses who felt they had accomplished all they could and the time was right for them to sell. Most of the time, your subconscious will move you in the right direction. Sometimes, even the best of us can be fooled by a subconscious throught that leads us astray.
If you wake up and start thinking about what the next phase of your life should be, here are a few things, mostly common sense, you can do to determine if it’s a momentary down cycle or something you need to pursue to make you happy:
  • Ask yourself if what you’re feeling is momentary or something that has been building.
  • If you did move ahead, and make whatever decision you have been thinking about, will it make you happy?
  • If the decision is to change, have you discussed it with your family, and are they behind you?
  • Is there somebody you can talk with? Maybe, by putting it on the table with somebody you trust, you may see flaws in your thinking that might not otherwise have surfaced.
  • And, most importantly, once you make a decision, can you sit on it for a little while just to make sure that you’re as comfortable with it as you were on the day you made the decision?
Whether it’s changing jobs, selling a business or doing something else that will impact your future, do everything you can to make sure that you are making the right decision, for the right reasons. At the of the day, it’s your life. Oh, and if you have decided to sell your business, Steve Rubin would be a pretty good guy to talk to. He’s been helping alarm dealers for many years. And he may tell you something you’re not likely to expect.

Ron DavisRon Davis is Security Sales & Integration‘s “What’s the Big Idea?” columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.