The Psychology of Selling Your Business – Are You Ready?
Deciding to sell your business can be an emotional rollercoaster. People choose to do so for a variety of reasons, such as:
- You’re ready to retire
- A new opportunity has caught your attention
- You’re facing financial hardships due to a difficult fiscal year or divorce
- You’ve decided to take your life in a different direction
Whatever the reason might be, whether it’s for financial reasons, health concerns, or being ready for a change, you’ve decided that it might be time to part ways with your business.
Handing off your company to someone else may sound great on paper, but it’s another thing to go through with it. Before you decide to sell your business, consider the following:
Talking with Business Brokers
You may not have decided to sell yet, but a conversation with a business broker can help you make a decision.
The first step is a consultation. At this stage, your business broker will work with you to determine why you’re selling your business. They’ll tell you a bit more about the current market conditions, pricing, and the overall process that’s ahead.
They can also provide you with an estimate of the value of your business. Depending on your expectations and your business, it can be tough to hear that the enterprise you worked years to build won’t sell for as much as you’d hope it would. On the other hand, your business might be worth more than you thought it was.
Although you may see the value of your business one way, buyers could see it entirely differently. This is because they have no personal attachment to it.
There are always some risks in transitioning a business to a new owner. But fortunately, your business broker can help you find the right buyers that sees the opportunity that your business presents. In fact, they have may have well-thought-out strategies to take your business to the next level.
Selling a business is not necessarily easy. It takes a considerable amount of time, creative thinking, and strategizing; that’s why many owners choose to work with a business broker.
You’ve spent years building your business—naturally, it’s going to take a bit of time to sell it, too. Prepare for a process that could take several months to a year.
Advertising the Business for Sale
One of the common aspects of a sale that can elicit emotions is the concern that your competitors, clients, or employees will find out that you’re selling your business. You can work closely with your business broker to maintain confidentiality. Across the various avenues where the sale is advertised (traditional media, relevant websites, and personal connections), they can carefully word the message so that even your employees won’t know it’s your business. Business Brokers have built up years of experience in confidentially marketing businesses for sale.
Preparing for the Process
Business sales rarely happen quickly. If you’re selling your business purely for financial reasons, you usually won’t see any payout for months after deciding to sell. The due diligence alone usually takes a couple of months.
Even when the deal is closed, the buyer might request that you stay on for a few months to train and assimilate them into the industry/company culture. This will allow for a smoother transition and may ease a buyer’s concerns.
You’ll need patience, persistence, and a positive mindset to make it through the sales process. Negotiating an agreement with buyers may be contentious and stressful. A business broker can help you navigate these complicated matters. Their experience can help you understand what is normal, give and take and when you should move on to another buyer.
When to Inform Your Employees?
There will come a time when you must let your employees know that the business is for sale. Most people choose to withhold this information until the deal is finalized or very near that time.
If you have a close relationship with your employees, it may be emotional to share this news with them. It’s important to reassure them that their hard work is appreciated. Tell them that the new owner values the company as highly as you do, especially when it comes to the staff. Do what you can to ease the anxieties of your employees to make the transition smoother.
Dealing with Post-Sale Emotions
For many business owners, selling your business may cause a range of emotions. It might give you a surge of pride or a sense of loneliness.
Some may experience a sudden sense of “purposelessness” if their identity was tied closely to the business. If you’re concerned that this could be you, plan how you’re going to replace the time you used to manage the company. You may want to spend more time with family, pursue a project you’re passionate about, or give back to your community by volunteering.
Your experience may not be negative at all. You could feel an overwhelming relief and reduction in stress when your deal is finalized after a long period of negotiating. After all, you decided to sell your business for a reason! Once everything is said and done, you might be ready to start fresh and move on with your life.
What Happens After?
After running a company for so many years, you’re used to a lack of free time and a constantly changing to-do list.
But once your business is sold, you might be faced with an unusual amount of spare time. You may have idealized retirement in your working years, but now that it’s fast approaching, you might be wondering what to do with yourself.
Selling your business will take a lot of time and energy; you’ll need to have your business evaluated, negotiate with buyers, and create a final agreement that both parties are happy with. Sometimes not enough thought is given to what happens after the fact.
Even if you’re planning an elaborate getaway to celebrate your freedom, spend some time thinking about your plans after the sale. Do you want to get started on a new business venture? Would you rather settle down and focus on personal hobbies, such as creating music or art? The choice is yours. Anticipating this stage will be helpful once the sale is complete.
Are you ready to start?
Are you ready to part ways with your business? If so, be sure to work with a business broker. They can help you work out a deal that both sides will be happy with. Overall, a business broker can make the experience more positive. Rather than dealing with stress due to the sales process, you can focus on starting a new chapter in your life.
Synergy Business Brokers has been helping business owners to sell their company for over 18 years. We have experience selling hundreds of businesses and have built up a pool of potential buyers, over 30,000 interested in buying a business in the industries that we focus on. Call us at (888) 750 5950 or fill out our easy contact form. A business broker will be happy to walk through your options.
Written for synergybb.com by Pat Gray and Blake Taylor
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