You’re in the final stages of selling your business and are more than ready to start the next phase of your life. You and a buyer have agreed on a sale price and are in the final days of due diligence. As the final sale contract begins to come together one very important part of the agreement needs to be discussed – training.
No one in their right mind is going to take over a new business without having someone show them the ropes, and if you care at all about the future of your business, the jobs of your employees and your financial return from selling – you need to take the training part of your transaction very seriously. This is even more crucial if you have seller financing as part of your deal, because if the business falters after you leave – you won’t get paid.
So, what does a typical training period look like?
For the typical small business sale, the training period is two weeks.
If you and the buyer don’t think two weeks is enough time, there are a litany of options. You can agree to stay on to train in a full-time capacity for one period of time and then a part-time capacity for a period after that. You can also agree to the two full weeks and then agree to be available on a consulting basis for several weeks or months.
You don’t want to stay on any longer than necessary, but you do need to show a new owner EVERYTHING you do – from how you unlock doors to payroll. You need to introduce the new owner to your clients, your vendors and your staff. All of these things take time.
They don’t, however, take forever. A buyer’s cold feet and nervousness about taking the reins shouldn’t dictate the amount of time you spend training. If you can teach them what they need to know in two weeks, then that’s it.
Here’s a very important caveat that you may not have considered. Once you hand over the keys, even if you are staying on in a training capacity, you are no longer the owner and no longer the boss. The new owner is in charge, and everyone needs to answer to them, not you. This dramatic shift in the power structure at a business you very recently owned can be emotionally difficult for some sellers, especially if the new owner makes changes you don’t agree with – another reason you should keep the training period as brief as possible.
Talk to your business broker about what they would suggest for a training period in your case. Then remember to keep your cool when dealing with the new owner.
Are you thinking about selling your business and hadn’t considered a training period after the sale? Would you like to know what we would suggest as an acceptable training period for your business? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.
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