Interview Patty

The Trouble with Trust

January 09, 2024

The numbers are shocking.

It's estimated that only 30% of owners successfully sell their small business, leaving 70% of small businesses without a viable plan for what happens next. Women make up only a small fraction of that 30% who sell.

There are over 13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., which is 42% of all U.S. businesses. According to a study by Guidant, for women business owners:

  • 62% cite their business as their primary source of income
  • 72% started their business to build wealth
  • and 71% want to make a difference

What do these statistics mean for you?

These data points line up precisely with what I’ve experienced in my work. In all the conversations I’ve had with accomplished women, I rarely hear they are dreaming of retiring.

Their dreams are centered around purpose, impact, and legacy. Doing well financially is an important tool to realize that dream but isn’t necessarily the driving force.

Today’s Question:

How can you improve your ability to build wealth and make a difference for yourself, your family, and your community?

But Here’s the Twist
. . .

The single biggest reason so few women can or will sell their companies is that they’re not thinking or talking about their eventual exit. Without that thought and planning, it is extremely unlikely they can make it happen.


I asked women why they’re not planning their exit, and these were the top responses:

  • Need for secrecy and privacy – “I’m not sure how to handle that and who to trust.”
  • Too busy handling things now – “I don’t have the staff I need to delegate, so I can’t even think about the future right now.”
  • Denial – “I’m healthy and can keep going as long as I need or want to.”
  • Lack of a trusted, knowledgeable advisor – “I have no clue how to start and what I need to do. I get different advice from my advisors, which is frustrating and confusing.”


What all these answers have in common is ‘trust’. It’s hard to know who to trust when we doubt we are equipped to trust our own choices.

I talk about this idea in my book:


“As professionals, we pride ourselves on being honest, ethical, and authentic. I have no doubt you are all those things. If you are like me, you say what you mean, and you mean what you say. Your words and your actions are in sync. You work hard not to let people down, and you consistently operate with integrity. The people around you trust and admire you. You are adept at building trust with others.


The missing link for many women is to trust ourselves. We have amazing powers of intuition and perception – tuning into ourselves and others – but we habitually ignore or rationalize away these strengths.


Following society’s norms, our lives hum along until an event derails us. In my case, it was a surprise divorce, forcing me to close my business and get a job. My whole identity was called into question.


Until we find a new way to move forward, we struggle with doubt, fear, and insecurity. These defining moments bring us to a crossroads – but it’s not the falling down that defines us; it’s how we get back up. That requires trusting ourselves.”

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue

Now What?

At some point, you will exit your business, whether it’s voluntary or not. If you needed to step away from your business today, due to a health problem or a family issue, would your company fall apart?

Are you leaving your life’s work, your impact, and your legacy in the hands of fate?

Even if your planned exit is 5-10 years down the line, the time to prepare is now.

Intentionally building value and positioning your company for your exit is a solid business strategy. While you are planning your transition, you will make more money, lift the burden of the business from your shoulders, and find balance between work and leisure.

I firmly believe – and have built my business around – the idea that business success and wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

An Elegant Exit™ requires a new way of thinking, new skills, a simple and elegant design, and an advocate on your side. Contact me to learn more. 

Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/

How can you improve your ability to build wealth and make a difference for yourself, your family, and your community?

I'd love to hear what you think.  I read and respond to every email personally.

A Note from Patty...

My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

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