Is it normal to second guess my business transaction?
There are a couple of weeks until closing and your emotions start to bubble to the surface. You may feel a sense of uncertainty regarding the sale of your business. This is completely normal and often expected. You’ve built your company over many years (or decades), and letting go reminds you of the day you dropped your son or daughter off at college. You are making the decision to entrust your life’s work into another set of hands. There are helpful strategies that can help you work through these emotional stages of selling and leave you confident in your decision.
Find the right M&A team.
Having a set of advisors in your corner who understand the M&A process and can walk you through from start to finish will give you reassurance through the transaction process. Choose advisors who have handled hundreds of transactions and know what the difference between normal deal “hoopla” and true dealbreakers. The right M&A attorney will translate the docs from legalese into language you can understand. A great tax advisor will help you determine how to get the most tax proceeds depending on how you structure your transaction. A solid M&A firm will help you stay focused on real buyers instead of tire kickers and keep the process moving helping you understand the diligence process and pushing through the legal documentation phase. The more you have people who have “been there, done that” the more comfortable you’ll be through the phases of the process.
Is it the right time to sell?
As the seller, you may wonder if now is the right time to contemplate a transaction. Of course, with no real Magic 8 ball, no one can ever be certain of the perfect time. Should you stay for 5 more years and continue to grow it? After all, you have excellent customers clamoring for more product. Or are you 12 months from an economic turndown that you’ll have to ride for the next decade to get your business back to current levels? If you have a solid team who can step in and handle operations without you leading the charge each day, great financial performance over the last 3-5 years and solid customer relationships and diversity with no expected changes, then it may be a great time to consider selling. You can walk from the company knowing that there is leadership in place and the performance is steady and ready for an acquirer to step in and grow it.
Have a post-closing plan.
This is an important factor to asses when preparing to sell. Thinking of life ‘after the sale’ can make any seller anxious. What will you do with your time? No more 15-hour days or weekend emergencies at the office is great but what about your daily 9-5. Are you financially set up for life after retirement? The financial confidence that you don’t need to be on payroll anymore and are financially secure is an important analysis to do before putting the business on the market. Consider your post-sale goals – travel more? Spend time with the grandkids? Hobbies or non-profit work? Having a plan set up for post-sale life will make you feel less empty handed and more motivated to begin this new, exciting chapter in your life.
Remember that all business owners feel the roller coaster of emotions as they go through a sale process – some have higher peaks and lower valleys, but in the end, there is a sense of peace about a finalized transaction and the ability to move forward into retirement knowing your company is in great hands and your employees are taken care of.