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Getting a business ready to sell naturally consists of many moving pieces.  What many business owners neglect to recognize in the transition process is that there is a very large emotional component.  For some, their business wasn’t just their livelihood – it was their identity.  When it comes time to give it up, they are saying goodbye to an era, and in certain circumstances, a project that was truly built from the ground up.  It is imperative that business owners recognize that this might be the most challenging angle of their transition process.  How does one brace themselves for this?

 Be An Active Participant In The Transition

Expectedly, everyone will deal with their sale in their own, individualistic ways.  What surfaces often is the importance of a mentorship period to help the new owner transition in.  Not only is this beneficial to the buyer for many reasons, but it also helps the previous owner to see that their hard work is being passed over in a full and complete fashion. They slowly begin to see and envision what it might be like to have their busines under the hands of someone else.  Because a mentorship period is often gradual, it is an ‘easing into’ phase, rather than a harsh and abrupt change. It also goes a long way in maintaining the success of the business itself. 

 Getting Ready To Sell Will Get You Ready To Sell

Prior to the mentorship period, there are other things the owner can do to become  emotionally ready to sell, even before they find a buyer.  Setting up a Formal Succession Plan, by which all of the books are put in order, the staff roles and responsibilities are written out, procedures manuals are collected, due diligance information consolidated, and much much more, will make the inevitable sale feel more real.  Alot of emotional processing will be done in this phase as well, pulling the reality of change to the forefront.  In this time frame, the business owner should also begin to look towards their next steps in life. This deaming phase will help distract from the focus of leaving the business, and get the owner more excited about what will happen once the business is sold. 

 Set Some Post-Sale Boundaries

Setting up parameters for after the transition and mentorship period is complete is also a vital portion to the process.  For some, it might involve setting some healthy boundaries.  For instance; making a rule that that the previous owner cannot visit said business for a number of months or even years after the transition is finalized.  The business will be in the hands of another owner, and therefore the decision power of someone with perhaps different ideals.  To see the business run in another direction could prove to be distressing, and a time of detachment will help the previous owner to let go of what ‘becomes of things’.  Many plan a celebratory vacation to help with this, or even just a phase of self care. 

 It’s OK To Say Goodbye!

It is important for a business owner not to downplay that leaving the business could be a sad time, marking the end of a chapter.  That’s ok!  In fact, that is the richness of life, moving through transitions and changes is how we all grow!

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