Published : 2 February 2015
When entrepreneurs begin planning a business sale, they often ignore one important consideration – will the decision make them happy?
Getting ready for this big step in your life? To be most satisfied with the outcome, you’ll have to come up with the most balanced strategy that includes both practical and emotional considerations. Ask yourself this question – am I going to be glad with the outcome of the sale? Is this what I really want? It may seem irrelevant while executing a business strategy but this simple question will prevent you from regretting the decision in the long run.
Think about your happiness when planning a business sale. Don’t know how to do that? Follow these five steps.
Step 1: Imagine Your Life after the Sale
Give yourself some time to think about your life after the business sale. Do you know what you’re going to do? How are you going to make your life complete? Do you have a mission, something that will keep you going and active in the days after you’re no longer a manager or a business owner?
Get specific with it! Otherwise, you may end up experiencing a “vacuum” and a sense of complete loss. Whether you plan to dedicate your time to a hobby or to another business endeavour, you need to be certain that you’ll have a lot to do from day one.
Build stable relationships with the individuals that are going to be a part of your everyday existence after the sale. Having partners, friends and acquaintances that share the same interests as you is going to prevent possible social isolation.
Step 2: Understand that Your Business is Not Your Life
Your business is an occupation, a means to an end. Many entrepreneurs and company owners grow very attached to their companies, which may lead to emotional trauma after the business sale. Though the process is completely natural, it could have a devastating impact.
This is one of the main reasons why managers and owners are advised to begin distancing themselves from the company before selling. Apart from making the transition smoother for employees, this step will also give owners the perspective needed to understand that the company isn’t their life.
Step 3: It’s Never Too Early to Start Planning
It’s nothing but natural to experience a sense of loss if you sell your business suddenly and quickly. Start planning early enough, in fact, you should consider the possibility years before the business sale actually takes place.
We can’t emphasise enough just how important an exit strategy is, if you want to be happy with the business sale. An exit strategy is a complex approach towards finding a new owner for your business and making the most of the deal.
Having a clear path to follow will take confusion out of the equation. Once everything else is taken care of, you will be free to focus on your emotions and learn how to do the sale without feeling empty.
Step 4: Take a Really Honest Look at Your Reasons to Sell
Why are you selling your company? Be really honest when answering this question. If you want to be happy with the outcome, you will need to sell for the right reasons.
If you need the money and you have no other choice, you’ll probably be unhappy with the sale. Can you come up with another way out? The reasoning is far from the healthiest and the one that will help you realise the best possible deal. Are you planning to move on and do something else? Have you made detailed plans about this new endeavour? In this instance, you’ll be motivated and looking forward to the sale.
Step 5: Know What to do Immediately after the Sale
This is the period during which you’ll experience most emotions connected to selling your company. If you want to be happy and capable of moving on, you need a good idea about what to do in the first days after the business sale.
It’s a bad idea to keep checking in on your company. If the new owner hasn’t asked you to stay as a manager, you should let things take their own course. You don’t have a commitment to this company right now and you should refrain from interfering.
Move on! Take a vacation with your family for a few days, maybe even for a few weeks? Alternatively, start working on your new business plan. Keep yourself occupied and find a new purpose. Knowing what you’re striving for will make you happy and give you peace of mind.
Every decision you make in life should bring you happiness and personal growth. The very same applies to selling your business. Face your emotions early enough, if you don’t want to experience grief and insecurities in the period after selling. Facing your fears face-to-face will enable you to move on, regardless of your future plans.