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“King Charles”: A Lesson in Finishing Well for Entrepreneurs

Frustrated businessman
King Charles didn't finish well...

In the world of business, entrepreneurs often focus solely on their current role and neglect to consider what comes next. The story of a friend, Charles, a once-powerful bank president, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of planning for a meaningful retirement and finishing well.

The Rise and Fall of “King Charles”:

“King Charles” was the President, CEO, and chairman of the board of a local bank. Known for his domineering ways, he earned his nickname behind his back. He had no outside voices he listened to. Even when his board advised him to build a team to eventually buy the bank and continue his legacy, he ignored their advice and sold the bank at 63.

The Consequences of Poor Planning:

Less than two years after selling the bank, the new owners could not tolerate his “kingly” ways and forced Charles into retirement. At 65, he found himself completely retired, having never taken the time to consider what it meant to “finish well.” He had assumed that selling the bank would bring the reward of significance and allow him to continue his demanding style, but he was sorely mistaken.

The Importance of Purpose and Relationships:

Retired and without purpose, “King Charles” spent his days at home, watching television and trading stocks online. He lost all personal interaction with people and no longer solved problems with his team. In a few short years, he passed away. 

But Charles stopped truly living long before his death. 

Losing the relationships that kept him vibrant and the lack of problems to solve had taken a toll on his well-being.

Learning from “King Charles’” Mistakes:

“King Charles’” son, Robin, talks about his father’s early demise, emphasizing the importance of having parallel interests to develop into your next career. He notes that “entrepreneurs are stimulated by solving problems for others,” and that “continuing to do so is key to staying vibrant and finishing well.”

The tragic tale of “King Charles” underscores the importance of planning for a meaningful retirement and finishing well. As entrepreneurs, we must take the time to consider what comes next and actively work to maintain the relationships and sense of purpose that keep us vibrant. By learning from “King Charles’” mistakes and heeding his son’s advice, we can ensure that we not only live well but finish well too.


Are you taking steps to ensure you finish well? Consider building a strong team, fostering meaningful relationships, and exploring parallel interests that will keep you engaged and purposeful in the next chapter of your life.

What does finishing well mean to you?

Harry T. Jones

P.S. Shortly, we will be publishing my new book. Until then, I am considering a “beta” test group at a greatly reduced cost, to coach a group of entrepreneurs through the succession planning process. This will be a six-month group built on the concepts of a peer advisory board or mastermind. 


Imagine establishing your legacy over the next twelve months with a trusted coach who has walked where you are now. In return, I will learn a lot from you!


Interested? Reply to this email and just put “Interested” in the reply line. No commitment. I will keep you informed.


To your legacy business!

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