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Letting Go: How to Deal with the Emotional Impact of Selling Your Business

Selling your business can be a bittersweet experience. On the one hand, you’re cashing in on years of hard work, and on the other, you’re cashing in on years of hard work.

It is an extremely emotional process, from letting the business go, to adjusting to the massive change in your working life, not to mention the knock-on effect to those who are closest to you.

Furthermore, the way you are perceived by not only your family, friends and local community, but also yourself, will change, bringing forth emotions that have to be dealt with. The good news is that the negative emotional impact of selling a business can be minimised if you approach it in the right frame of mind.

Plan an Exit Strategy

To minimise the shock to your system, plan an exit strategy well in advance of any serious thought of selling. Having an exit strategy means knowing at what point you’re going to sell the business, be it when you reach a certain level of turnover, when you’re fifty years old or when your offspring have all left home.

That, in turn, embeds the process into your psyche, so it won’t be as emotionally disturbing as if you make a decision to sell because of some short-term problem such as having personal debts to settle or getting a divorce.

When planning your exit strategy, you also need to consider your family, because it’s highly probable that they will have shared in the rollercoaster of emotions and involvement over the years and will also experience some kind of withdrawal symptoms.

Consider the future

decision-makingYou don’t want to wake up on the day after completion and find you have nothing to occupy your time. At first, you may wish to take a holiday, which is fine, but when that comes to an end, what’s next?

To a certain extent, your decision will depend on your age and how much money you realised from the sale, but if you planned your exit strategy correctly, both those factors would have been known further back down the line.

Even if you have reached retirement age, you don’t just want to sit around, waiting to wither and die. You need to set new goals that you can fulfil so you feel productive and useful.

During the sale

Although you’ll obviously be involved with the selling of the business, it’s best to leave as much as possible to third-party specialists such as accountants, lawyers and brokers. Apart from the fact that they’ll maximise your return from the sale and ensure that it’ll all go through smoothly, they can make any necessary decisions free of the emotional baggage that may cloud your judgement.

In addition, you’ll be free to focus on the day-to-day business, running it as effectively and efficiently as you always have. When negotiating the sale, don’t forget to consider what role you are prepared to play during the transition process. Are you prepared to stay on in an advisory capacity if requested? Or do you just want to walk away once the sale has been finalised?

After the sale

emotionsNo matter how well you prepare, you will experience some emotions. It could be sadness, happiness or just plain relief. Whatever it is, you have to deal with it, not look back and move on. However, if you have prepared carefully, you’ll find that you’ll become immersed in your new life very quickly.

This article was contributed by BusinessesForSale.com, the market-leading directory of business opportunities from Dynamis, the online media group also behind FranchiseSales.com and PropertySales.com

Image Courtesy: sclrc.org, embercarriers.com, opensrs.com

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