By Steve Dubin

The idea of full retirement is a bit frightening. The loss of income, the great expanse of free time, the loss of identity.

Well, there is another option. Half-Retirement Program allows you to step away without jumping off the cliff. This formal program offered by Kevin Lister, founder of Paradigm Strategies based in Marlborough, MA, goes through a 6-step program to make you fully ready to orchestrate a half retirement.

“Through my Business Consulting/Growth Planning/Exit Planning, I regularly meet founders of small to mid-sized companies who have enjoyed their careers, but are ready to ease up a bit,” said Lister, MBA. “They often express that multidimensional concern of a desire to pursue another passion, hobby or focus, but not want to fully give up their business. The Half-Retirement program helps confront the challenges, the mindset and the specific steps to accomplish the transition.”

This is not an “off the shelf/one size fits all” miracle program. It is intended to be a customized roadmap. It also prepares for and creates the possibility of selling the business at greater profit at a later date.

The Half-Retirement 6-Step Program is ideal for business owners who:

  • Realize that the anticipated proceeds from the sale of their business will not provide their existing income.
  • Want to keep their business and income but remove the ownership headaches.
  • Desire to slow down but not sell their business.
  • Are concerned about boredom during retirement.
  • Still enjoy portions of their work but wish they could remove portions they dislike.

The program starts with the determination of your “pulling force.” Confront 4 key questions:

  1. What work do you ENJOY?
  2. If the business would run perfectly, and there was no financial impact, what work would you stop doing immediately (i.e., what work do you dislike?)
  3. If your business ran perfectly with you working only about two days a week, what would you do for fun?
  4. If you keep going “as is,” what will it cost you mentally, physically, and financially?

Adopt a Half-Retirement Mindset
In order to get the most from Half-Retirement, some old mindsets NEED to go:

  • This business is your baby.
  • No one does it as well or as fast as you.
  • Structure built with the owner at the center.
  • The only person with permission to fail is you.
  • Perfectionism
  • Corporate culture of urgency
  • Trust as a shortcut for systems

Untangling the Owner from the Business

You may not be a painter, but you are probably an artist within your field.

What are the qualities of Picasso? Only Picasso can touch the brush to the canvas. Like Picasso, your goal is to only perform the tasks only you can do best. Virtually everything else is delegated. A great example of this is the medical field, specifically surgeons. In a typical surgery, only the surgeon participates in the actual procedure while all other non-surgery related tasks are delegated. This is a process for discovering the art/critical tasks.

Setting the Autopilot

The next to last step of our Half-Retirement 6-Step Program is about keeping track of KPIs. Key Performance Indicators are quantitative business metrics that measure a specific criteria’s performance. They are your key economic drivers. KPIs “add up” to profit. If your KPIs are in line, profits will come. The most common KPIs include Net Margin, Gross Margin, Accounts Receivable Turnover, Current Ratio, and Quick Ratio.

Every business has 5-7 economic drivers. You must determine what these KPIs are for your organization, then measure and review them regularly.

There are other tools to quick management—a flash review and occasional “Management by Walking Around.” These can be fine-tuned.

Enjoying Half-Retirement

To do so you first need to review your Dare to Dream & Mindset documents and commit to one dream item and adopt two or three new mindsets.

With this complete, you next need to create and implement your Half-Retirement Plan. With your plan complete, you now start taking off one day, or two half days, a week. Next, take note of what happens when you are away—good and bad. Review these notes and systematically repair weak systems until they are all running smoothly.

If you would like to speak with Kevin Lister about the Half-Retirement 6-Step Program visit website

If you know of a senior who is doing something interesting with their retirement, I look forward to hearing from you! Please email me at

Steven V. Dubin is the founder of PR Works, a lightly used Public Relations firm based in Plymouth, MA, which helps small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies navigate the overwhelming options of advertising. Steve lives in Plymouth with his wife Wendy. He is a contributing author to “Get Slightly Famous” and “Tricks of the Trade,” the complete guide to succeeding in the advice business. He recently authored “PR 101,” an E-book.