The primary role of a business broker is to help the seller find a qualified buyer who is willing to pay fair market value for the company. This often involves an objective look at the business. However, another major role of a business broker is to ensure the seller is able to manage their emotions and stay focused on their long-term vision. This becomes increasingly important if the seller faces setbacks along the sales journey. In this article, we explain the common emotions of selling a business and discuss coping strategies to ensure a successful and stress-free sales journey.
What are The Positive Emotions of Selling a Business?
For many business owners, selling allows them to accomplish their dreams and goals that they set forth a long time ago. Naturally, this leads to many positive emotions, such as excitement, accomplishment, and optimism. Below is a breakdown of each of these three common positive emotions.
Excitement is one of the most commonly reported emotions during a business sale (for the seller and the buyer). This is usually a positive excitement — a sense of eagerness and enthusiasm. However, the excitement can turn to nerves and anxiety if not managed properly. It helps to take the sales process one step at a time without looking too far into the future or formulating an optimistic idea of what the sales process will look like. We say this because every sale is unique, and you never know what challenges you may face along the way. With the right focus, there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome.
There is also a strong sense of accomplishment when you decide to sell your business. This is a great opportunity to reflect on all that you have done to build your company into what it is today. Think about all that you have accomplished, rather than focusing on all that you still want to do to improve your company. This should provide a sense of completion and allows you to sell your company with a clear mind and confidence.
There is also a sense of optimism about what is next to come. Whether you intend to retire and enjoy your leisure time or have business ventures that you plan to embark on next, most sellers are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead once the sale of their company is complete.
What are The Negative Emotions of Selling a Business?
Although you should not focus on negative emotions, it is important to acknowledge them and address ways to cope. The most commonly reported negative emotions of selling a business are guilt, stress, and sadness. Let’s take a closer look at each negative emotion.
Many business owners are surprised by the feelings of guilt they experience when selling their company. For instance, many business owners feel as if they are letting their employees and clientele down by leaving the company. To make matters worse, the business is not able to notify its staff and clients until the sale is nearing its completion.
Unfortunately, for far too many business owners, the process of selling is filled with stress. There are many curveballs sellers may face, and each one brings about potential stress if not dealt with properly. Fears of setbacks in the sales process, fallen-through deals, and not receiving offers of fair value can all increase stress levels for sellers. Fortunately, much of the stress (and uncertainty) is alleviated by working with a licensed and experienced business broker who you can trust.
Business owners often feel a great sense of loss when they sell their company. They often compare this sense of loss when selling their company to sending their child off to college for the first time or watching their child get married. Much like these situations, the act of selling a business is bittersweet. On one hand, you know it is the right move and one that carries optimism and a positive outlook for the future. However, the fact that there is a major change can bring about sad emotions as well.
How Can I Cope With The Emotions of Selling a Business?
Preparing for the emotions of selling a business is an important step to make and necessary to ensure a good experience. In fact, when done properly, you can use the emotions to your advantage. In general, here are several ways to help ensure emotions do not negatively impact the sale of your business:
- Allow yourself to experience the full range of emotions
- Find support from family members, friends, and your sales team
- Stay calm when setbacks occur and remain focused on your long-term vision
- Maintain a consistent and balanced daily schedule and lifestyle
There are only so many people that will know that you are selling, namely your family members, business partners (if you are a co-owner), and your sales team (i.e. broker, attorney, CPA, etc.). It is important to hire a broker who understands the emotions of selling a business and is willing and able to help you navigate the emotions.
For example, a business owner who feels guilty and as if they are letting their employees down by selling may make an extra effort to ensure the buyer continues the same company vision and keeps their employees on staff. In some cases, employees may even benefit from a change in ownership, particularly if they are able to take on more responsibility and assist with the transition (and receive a fair raise in return). Of course, this is just one of many possible examples.
Sigma Mergers and Acquisitions Can Help You Sell Your Business
We have helped hundreds of business owners through the sales journey, ensuring the full value of their company is understood and received with the final sale price. Contact us today if you are considering the sale of your company and would like to discuss your exit strategy with an experienced business broker.