Business Advice, Leadership, On The Up, Work & Wellbeing

Saying Goodbye: The Emotional Impact of Selling Your Business

Business Advice | 26 April 2023 | 1 year ago

Selling your business is an emotional time, whatever the circumstances. Even if you are excited to sell your business and you are keen to get started on something new, you are sure to notice the range of emotions that you go through as your business goes from ‘for sale’ to ‘sold’.

You might feel relief that the stresses of being a business owner are behind you, and you might feel regret that you’re getting rid of a profitable enterprise and a guaranteed stream of income. You might feel like you are losing control, as selling your business means giving up control over something that has been a significant part of your life. You might also feel excitement, happiness and joy. Most likely, you will feel a mixture of everything, good and bad. Selling a business can be an emotional rollercoaster, and these are all feelings that you can expect to experience at one point or another. In this blog, we have taken a look at some of the key feelings that you can expect and how to deal with them.

Leaving

One of the hardest parts of selling a business is saying goodbye to employees, some of which are likely to have been part of the business’ growth and success over the years. These could be people who have become close friends, and not just employees or colleagues. When you work closely with someone, working alongside them becomes second nature, and this is something that you will be leaving behind when you sell. It’s important to talk to them and explain the situation, such as why you are selling and what that means for the business going forward.

It’s also a good idea to let them know how valuable and appreciated they are, and the impact they have had on the business during their time there. The news that you are selling is likely to come as a shock to your employees, but staying in touch can soften the blow. Plus, there is no knowing when you might need their skills and experience in the future.

Uncertainty

There can be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the selling of a business, as it’s a big decision to make, and it can have a huge impact on your life. It’s probably something that you have been considering for a while, and it’s not a decision you would have made lightly. You might feel uncertain about what you will do next, or what the buyer plans to do with the business that you have built from the ground up. Though the business won’t be yours anymore, you want to know that the company you have built still has the chance to thrive. This can create a lot of anxiety and stress, especially if you are having doubts about your decision.

To help manage these worries, you should seek to find out as much as possible about the plans ahead of time. Knowing what the buyer plans to do with your business can help to put your mind at ease, knowing that your beloved business will be in good hands. Have faith that the new owners will do what they believe is best for the business, and focus on your next business venture. The business should be something that you look back on fondly, not something that you worry about even once you have sold it.

Loss

A lot of people underestimate how overwhelming the feeling of loss can be when you are selling your business, especially if it’s a business that you have owned for many years. You will have put years of work, time, money and dedication into making the business a success, and selling it means saying goodbye to that. You might have made significant personal sacrifices to ensure that the business succeeds. You might have feelings of regret, and you might worry that you’re making a mistake, but this is something a lot of people deal with. Instead of focusing on the loss and what you are saying goodbye to, focus on the value that your hard work has brought. Think about the business’ achievements during your time as owner, and think about the impact that you have personally had. Your hard work will have led to sales, loyal customers or clients, and a strong brand. These are things to be proud of and should be seen as an impressive achievement, not something that you are losing or something that’s being taken away from you. 

Take Care

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s important to take care of yourself during the time that you are selling your business. There’s a lot that goes into selling a business, and the entire process can be a lengthy and stressful one. Instead of trying to manage everything on your own, talk to people and share any concerns, worries or anxieties that you may have. Ask for help if you need it, whether that’s professional help with the selling side of things, or personal help with managing the emotional side of things. It’s bound to be an emotional time, but it doesn’t need to be completely negative and sad. After all, having a business that’s worth selling is a win and something to be proud of, so celebrate your achievements.

Once you have sold your business, you can focus on your next project. You might be ready to buy another business, or you might want to change your focus and concentrate on a passion project. You might be ready to throw yourself into a startup, or you might want to hand the reins over to someone else and go back to being an employee. Whatever you do, acknowledging the emotional impact of selling your business can help you to navigate the process from beginning to end.

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