Selling a business is one of the biggest transitions an owner will experience and one of the most emotional ones, too.
I should know. I’ve lived it.
Few people recognize that there are really two transitions which take place:
- The strategic transition of selling the business to a new owner or simply closing it
- The emotional fallout after the fact and transitioning to a new life
I’m now 3 years on the other side of selling my own successful financial planning practice. For most of the 25 years, I loved my job and truly enjoyed serving my community. Many of them weren’t just clients, they were friends. But once the passion for running the business itself disappeared, I knew I needed to make a change.
I found myself asking, “Should I sell the business? Should I have just closed and moved on?”I wasn’t sure. That led me to join a group of exit planning specialists in order to learn from the experts and then apply that to my own departure.
What I learned was invaluable, but there was a piece missing, the emotional support piece.
The personal side of change plays a larger role than most people consider. And it doesn’t just impact you, it impacts everyone around you.
I had to consider two important questions:
1. Could I afford to exit my business?
I wasn’t quite ready for retirement, but exploring a new projects sounded appealing. Either way, the money needs to be there to support the lifestyle that I – and my family – had become accustomed to. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have planned my exit long before it was even a consideration, perhaps even when I was just getting started. I was also concerned about the care of my clients as well as my employees. I couldn’t just walk away.
Within this decision is the Value Gap: the difference between what you can sell your business for and what amount you need to continue your current lifestyle.
If there’s a gap, now what? Stay and build? Leave anyway and get a job? Or start another business?
I decided to sell, but there were times I considered just walking away.
2. What would I do after I exit my business?
I wasn’t sure, but I knew I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing. I was also so busy planning for others that I had forgotten to plan for myself. In the book, Finish Big by Bo Burlingham, he says, “your exit isn’t over until you’re fully engaged in what comes next”. I believe this 100% because I’m living it. And that’s what draws me to doing this kind of work. I’ve considered coaching as I have always relied on coaches throughout the development and sale of my business. The further I explored that path, the more I realized that it wasn’t exactly the right fit. Knowing what I know now is exactly why I want to dedicate myself to helping other business owners gracefully transition from ownership to the next phase – whatever that may be. I can help with the strategy, but I’m most drawn to supporting the emotional transition and the questions that come with it.
Does this sound like you?
When you decide to work with me, it’s not just consulting, but educating. It’s listening. It’s walking with you through what the most desirable – and realistic – future looks like for you. It’s about what’s pushing you to make this decision and what life looks like on the other side.