Loving and Letting it Go: The Emotional Impact of Selling Your Business

Monday June 8, 2015

Every great adventure must reach its end, and if you're a business owner that ending may involve selling up. In fact, many business owners start their journeys with that eventual goal firmly in mind, dreaming of glittering jewel-fountains gushing torrents of diamonds into the gemstone moats of their golden castles. While that's certainly a dream worth pursuing, finding a business adventurer who actually managed to write that ending to their story is, frankly, pretty difficult.

For one thing, it can be a rocky hike selling your business. You've got a range of routes to consider, some steeper than others, and if the way ahead isn't clear it's hard to tell if the destination's worth the journey. A lot of this comes down to finding the right buyer. As the crazed inventor who first dreamed up your business, you naturally want to be sure that the torch you're passing won't be used to scorch the earth that dream once stood on. You'll be fending off query-barrages on all sides, whether from solicitors, tax advisors or accountants, and transforming the sale of your business from interesting notion to profitable reality can seem like a mountain to climb. Of course, those are just the nuts-and-bolts practicalities of the exercise. There's a whole other side to consider, and it can be a lot more painful if you're unprepared for it.

You've invested more than just money and time into your business, and the satisfaction you've drawn from it can't be fully accounted for in the bottom line of your balance sheets. Even if you've always kept your long-term exit strategy in tight focus in your mind, as the time approaches to walk away the decision can feel more and more difficult to follow through on. That emotional impact, whether it hits you before or after the sale, can knock the wind right out of you.

The business you've built may have become a part of you in ways you never anticipated. You've taken an idea and grown it into something dynamic and powerful. Now you're faced with the sometimes-painful reality of watching it take its first steps outside of your care. It's leaving home, and it's not always easy to let go. This is something that's rarely discussed in entrepreneurial circles, but it's a very real phenomenon for many of the most creative business adventurers, explorers and inventors - people who've put their hearts into something they believe in. It isn't an easy transition, and in many ways it probably shouldn't be, but there are a few things you can do to prepare for it.

  • Plan your exit strategy. This is something you should be thinking about early on, perhaps even from the start of your adventures. If your business is valuable to you, leaving it in the hands of a trusted family member may help to smooth the transition.

  • Talk it through. Are you ready to move on from your business, and to watch it move on without you? If you've poured a lot of yourself into your it, discuss your exit plans with the people close to you before you come to a decision you can't undo.

  • Think further ahead. Your exit plan doesn't end with the sale of the business. What's your next move? Do you already have some new adventure in mind just waiting for the sale money to get it off the ground, or are you building a retirement income from it? Whatever your long-term plan is, locking it into your mind now will help keep you focused and sure you've made the right decision

Selling up could well represent your best opportunity for turning your business into serious cash, but don't let that single consideration be the only star that guides you. You had a dream when you took your first step into the business jungle, and the weight of a dream can't always be measured in simple monetary terms. Friends and family can often offer a perspective to make your decision easier, and RIFT Accounting can help you write the perfect ending to your business story - or at least this chapter of it.

Remember, one adventure may be over, but no one ever said you had to stop dreaming.

If you need further help with the options available to you, or what you need to do to wind up a business, then get in touch. We're here to help you.

Call us on 01233 653006 and see how we can help you today.

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