Making the decision to sell your business may seem pretty hard, but getting through the actual deal and to what life holds beyond might be tougher than you think. Preparing yourself for the range of emotions that will hit is the best defense. Below are a few good ways to weather the emotional storm.
Create an Exit Strategy
Knowing that the business will be sold at some point you need to create a solid exit strategy. You can appoint someone in the interim to do the day to day operations and pick a day to say your goodbyes. This allows you time to pop in at odd times when you are starting to feel a longing to be active in the business again. You can slowly break free from the business this way. It can be a gentler approach.
Keep a Distance From the Sale
Try not to get involved with the sale. If this is a business that you have started and grown there will be no amount of money that seems quite right. It will be easy to get upset and ruin a perfectly good offer on your business. Let a realtor handle all the details and stick with a price that is fair for the market. Try and stay emotionally detached from the actual deal.
Fall Back on Peers and Family
Remember that you are not alone in the process. Many other business people have gone through the same anxious and emotional period right before the sale of their business. Ask them questions and get input on how they handled everything. Your family or friends may be very involved with the business. These are the ones to talk with and lean on during a time of great transition. Do not be afraid to be open and honest with how you are feeling, but be prepared to move forward.
Make Long Term Plans
What are your life goals beyond the business? Are there activities you have always wanted to do, or places you have always wanted to visit but had no time? This is the time to start making solid plans. Perhaps you will start a new business like a talent management agency. Never be afraid to reach for your dreams. Talk to some of the seasoned entrepreneurs in your area. You might be surprised how many have built numerous businesses and sold them for a profit. Moving on is not always a bad thing.
Allow the Grief Process to Flow Naturally
If you have nurtured and grown a business there will be real emotional attachments made. It will be normal to mourn the loss of something you built with your mind and elbow grease. Understand that there will be a natural grief process that you need to try and flow through. Over time it will get easier, but deal with the stress and emotions day to day.
Get Ready to Move On
Making plans to move on is one thing, but doing so may be a little harder than you think. Many business owners are surprised at the strong feelings they experience both during and after the sale. Encourage yourself daily in understanding that the feelings are normal and that this will pass. Get into action on the plans you made to move forward. Do not let time get away from you.
Planning and going through with the sale of your business may be the toughest business deal you will ever make. Through the transition process, you will begin to regain momentum and find new interests. Take the time you need to grieve, but know that you will be a stronger business person at the end.