What’s the Big Deal? Why Owners Get Emotional About Selling the Business.

Posted by:
Bill Goldberg
September 3, 2019

Selling the business you’ve put your heart and soul into building is never easy. Even when it’s your plan, there are still moments that can choke up even the most stoic of owners. This may be perfectly natural, but when you get emotional about selling the business, it can also get in the way of a healthy process and optimal outcome.

According to Carl Doerksen, the Director of Corporate Development at Generational Equity in an article titled The Emotions of Selling a Business:

“What we have learned throughout the years, and you hear it in our post-close testimonials, is that as the final hour of ownership draws near, the logical side of the brain that all along has been leading the process gives way to the emotional side of the mind, and a wave of feelings washes over the seller.”

Understanding Why Owners Get Emotional About Selling and Why It Matters

You’re only human. Often, it’s not just about the business. It’s about the family, your past, the future, value, employees, regret, finances, pride, and the list goes on. The emotions are natural, but they can cause owners to experience stress, question their own decisions, distrust others, stall, renegotiate, make rash decisions or even walk away.

Emotions are especially problematic and exacerbated when deals are forced, rushed, unexpected, a last resort or not properly planned and executed.

How to Avoid Getting Emotional and Minimize Related Impacts

The best way to avoid - or at least minimize - the emotions of selling your business is to step back and make sure it’s not just WHAT you want to do, but HOW and WHEN you want to do it. Here are some key considerations:

Is your business in “selling” shape? If not, step back and take the time (years even) to put the business and yourself in the best possible position to optimize the eventual sale. This will replace uncertainty and dread with confidence and pride.

Are you selling for the right reasons with the right transition plan? Don’t do it out of desperation or pressure from others. Have a plan for yourself and your family post-sale. Take the time to do it on your own terms to feel in control of the situation.

Have you considered all your options? You may think that selling right away is your only choice, but that could not be farther from the truth. Hold on long enough to evaluate the alternatives, and make rational decisions before you get to the heat of the battle.

Consider the Alternatives

If you’re struggling with an emotional decision or facing an imminent sale, it may help calm your emotions to find out if it’s really the right time first. Learn more and/or take an assessment.

We are the W Alexander Group, headquartered in Cincinnati. We are not consultants or business brokers. We are private investors who work in active partnership with owners to provide an alternative to selling the business now through strategic and operational initiatives.  Our uncommon approach  protects owner equity and provides an interim step, allowing for a more planful change and down-the-road sellability when you are ready to transition.

Reach out to us. We would love to talk to you.

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