Selling a business isn’t always easy, but the emotional aspect of the sale is often overlooked while the organisational element takes over. In the midst of finding the right buyer and negotiating terms, it can be important to take stock and deal with the mental impact of the sale.
Business owners invest a lot of time and energy in building up and running their businesses, so it is only natural to build up a personal connection during this time. It’s likely that the business is more than just a job, and rather a way of life.
But at this crucial time, it is more important than ever to remain as objective as possible and not let emotions cloud your judgement or overrule sensible decisions. Whenever you feel you are becoming too emotionally involved, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.
Fortunately there are a number of steps you can take before selling a business to make the process easier all round. Prepare a thorough exit strategy before putting the business up for sale so that you are prepared and can deal with whatever scenarios are thrown your way.
The process of making arrangements will help to get you in the right mindset as well as making the process more streamlined. Don’t forget to include solid plans for the future, when the business is no longer a part of your daily life. It can also be helpful to talk to any previous business owners who have been through the same selling process.
During the selling process
At this stage, it is vital to remain attentive to the needs and everyday running of your business. Buyers do not want to see sales plummet or similar scenarios during this time, and until the sale is finalised they can always pull out.
It is likely that business owners will need the help of professionals such as brokers, solicitors and accountants to deal with certain aspects of the sale. As well as providing the necessary professional input, the inclusion of third parties also adds impartiality to the process.
It is possible that the buyer will want you to stay on in a consulting role for a set period of time, typically a few months, and the emotional consequences of this should be carefully considered.
Being a consultant is a very different role to business owner, and it may be that many decisions are made that you don’t agree with. It can be difficult to see a business that you have built up going in a different direction. On the other hand, having no involvement afterwards can be even harder.
This can be the time when the emotional impact of selling is most keenly realised. There may be a sense of loss and it can be difficult to let go of daily routine and relationships with employees.
It is usually best to make a clean break from the business, unless you are still involved in some capacity. This is the time to look forwards rather than backwards, and to move on, focusing on turning future plans and ambitions into reality.
This article was contributed by BusinessesForSale.com, the market-leading directory of business opportunities from online media group Dynamis.