When selling your business don’t just consider the financial elements required to effect the sale, but also the toll it will have on your emotions. Often times, intangibles get overshadowed by the tangible side: financials, market conditions & projections.
Let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to not be emotional when you have invested countless waking hours of your time to ensure your business is flourishing. When it comes time to transition out of the ownership role, you will naturally experience a feeling of change. The question then becomes: How do I manage my emotions when selling? Here are a few tips:
Accept the Fact and Face It
Over the years, you have developed a personal connection to your business, your employees, and your livelihood- therefore it is warranted that you may feel a sort of looming uncertainty regarding the outcome of a sale. No one wants to feel like they sold for too low of a price, sold at the wrong time, or probably worst of all, sold to the wrong buyer. Addressing these concerns head on, however, can help you get over the edge and put a positive outlook on life after business ownership.
First, understand that every business owner will not run their business forever and then look at each of your concerns through an objective lens. If your concern is getting the correct market price, then do your research or hire a third party professional to do an assessment. If your concern is sourcing the right buyer, ensure you truly take the time to screen each inquiry as they come in. If your concern is what you’re going to do next, accept that the sale is a self-reinventing process.
Know Why You Are Selling
Take the time you need before you say yes to selling your business. It should be a well thought-out process and not a knee-jerk reaction. Write down why you are selling, your expectations, and your preferred timeline then ensure you review these items regularly to guide your actions.
As heavyweight champion Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” It is quite common to experience a few unexpected hiccups when selling a business. Don’t be surprised if things perhaps go sideways. All you can do is prepare as much as you can with the time and information that you’ve got. Ready yourself to be tolerant and flexible. Being patient is crucial, it will help you manage your emotions throughout the sale process.
Put Yourself in the Buyer’s Shoes
This certainly sounds cliche, but it’s a tried and true fact. By understanding the buyer’s perspective, you will see where they are coming from and in turn, this will help you to keep your emotions in check. Understand that you and the buyer are likely unfamiliar with one another. They are a stranger to you and your business, therefore it will take time for them to warm up and get a true grasp of all your business entails. After all, you too would be asking the hard questions if the roles were reversed.
Call the Shots
Selling your business can lead to indecision. Given all the steps involved with selling a business such as preparing your business for the market, performing sell-side due diligence, agreeing to deal terms with the buyer, etc. there are a lot of decisions to be made. Being indecisive doesn’t just make you feel uncomfortable, it will in turn make you appear unreliable or uncertain to outside parties.
This is your sale - commanding the stage, being the director of all major decisions and having confidence with each decision you make will help you move forward with the process. This doesn’t mean micromanaging the buyer- this means pushing the process forward with confidence and holding all parties responsible for their roles. This goes back to the point “Know why you are selling” - these predetermined reasons will be your north star in the decision making process.