I'll get rid of the DoomerSteve and just go with Steve :)
Feel free to place my reply on the blog. I hope others can find it useful.
Thank you Ferfal and the other posters for your advise. I'll elaborate a bit more but I am paranoid about OPSEC to give away too much information.
I have been in business for 15 years full time and another 10 prior to that working for other people. I am in an entertainment related industry and my biggest problem and the source of most of my stress is managing my employees. The people I need with the required skill set are hard to find and the available pool is quite small. It takes a long time to train someone to the standards I require to keep my customers happy. I used to love this business, but the years of dealing with unreliable people are taking their toll. Recently I have had to fire 4 employees, two of them for theft and one of them had been with me over 10 years and a friend for 15. Every week there is one issue or another, lateness, lost or damaged equipment etc. The last two years have been brutal with staff. I am chronically short staffed now and doing a lot of the work myself. The old adage is absolutely true sometimes... if you want a job done right you have to do it. The problem with that is I work 60-80 hours a week to do it and I am truly burnt out.
I have taken steps to downsize... I guess part of that 80/20 stuff you spoke of. Trying to stay focused in the business I can do myself and make the most money on, while trying to reduce my dependency on other unreliable people. I've gotten rid of equipment I rarely used and lowered my overall expenses. I am training new staff and in the process of tightening up control over inventory and improving efficiency through better checks and balances. It is taking time and I guess I just have to suck it up for a while longer.
I do have a good reputation and people do business with me because I do good work for a reasonable price and no matter what happens I do what I say I am going to do. If I make a mistake I make it right. End of story. People know this. This possible new owner will most likely just take what customers they can keep and sell off my equipment. They have done this with several failed companies. In my case they will be just buying a competitor just to get rid of me.
I believe most of my problem is my perspective. I have had such a long run of bad luck that I am looking at everything is a very negative light. Only seeing the bad. I need to find the time to step away for a while, but it has been hard to find. I had a nice two week vacation planned but it was cut short because I injured myself on the first day, recovery took up most of the vacation and I only managed to get away for a few days. I am so desperate to get away from it for a while that I have been seriously considering just dumping it so I can run away for a while. You are all right, it would be a mistake. My wife has been telling me this for weeks but she also says she will support any decision I make. My wife has been my biggest asset.... she is an incredible woman. I need to focus so much more on the good things I have, as they are many. I have to get out of this mental rut I am in. I just don't know how.
Steve, a non-lethal dose of paranoia makes us survivalists.:)
Maybe you need to hire the services of a good human resources company to help you target the kind of employees you need. Might be worth the cost.
But it sounds like you'll do ok. ;-)