Selling your business is a monumental decision, one that carries with it some very big (and often very unexpected) emotions. While these emotions are completely normal, they can (if allowed to do so) completely derail a great business sale – so here’s how to keep that from happening:
Be patient with the deal.
It can take months and months to find the right buyer, and then once you do the transaction itself takes time. Lots and lots of time. It can be easy to get lost in your post-sale-life daydreams and want to push the deal to go faster – but that isn’t a good idea. Your buyer is about to write a very big check, and they will absolutely be nervous. That nervous buyer is going to want to go over your books multiple times, rework the contract, renegotiate with the commercial landlord, have their attorney and CPA look at everything, rework the contract again – it’s a process that can be frustratingly long for a seller. Here’s the thing. You can’t force this process to move at the speed you’re ready for. It needs to go at the buyer’s pace because you don’t want their nerves to be coupled with feeling rushed – causing a perfectly good deal to fall apart. Patience with the process and patience with your buyer will serve you far better than trying to ram the deal through.
Be patient with yourself.
Your business, even if you’re burned out and can’t wait to sell, is your baby. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears invested. You’re excited for the post-sale future, but it can be surprisingly hard to hand over those keys when the time comes. Be ready for this. Buyers are going to comb through all of the work you’ve ever done and look for problems, then they will try to leverage those problems for a better price. While a completely normal part of the business transaction process, it can be very difficult for a seller to keep from feeling personally insulted. Remember that you absolutely must stay objective, no matter how hard it is. If you were the buyer in this situation, you would be doing the same things. Mentally preparing to have both things happen – your work criticized and then giving your business to a stranger – will help you step back from the brink of killing your own deal when those big emotions show up.
Get ready for dealing with the emotions that go hand in hand with such a huge life change. Take a breath, be patient with the transaction process and give yourself some grace. There are more exciting things ahead!
Have you considered selling your business, but aren’t sure you could walk away? Do you have questions about how long the transaction process takes for a business like yours? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.
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