Planning for Life After Selling Your Business

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There’s no way around it: Selling your business can be absolutely devastating. Unfortunately, it’s often a necessary and beneficial move for both you and the business. It’s not often enough that we, as business owners, discuss the emotional attachment that we have to our hard work. That’s why planning for life after selling your business is so important.

The Grieving Process

You’ve likely heard something about the process of grieving a loss: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. When you’re in the middle of preparing for your business transition, it’s not uncommon to experience these emotions.


It might begin with denial that’s it time to begin transitioning. You may pour more time, energy, and resources into the business in an attempt to make it work for you and your family. You might (metaphorically) slam the door in the face of potential buyers or investors.


Anger can take hold at any time, and you may question why the time has come to transition. You might be angry at yourself, the market, the people trying to walk you through the process.


Bargaining often goes hand-in-hand with anger. You may try to cut deals with yourself. You might think things like, “Well, I’ll just stay in for one more year and see where I’m at then,” or “I’ll definitely like the next purchase offer that comes along, so I’ll hold out for something better.”


Depression is hardest step to deal with. It can feel like you’ve abandoned your life’s work, or that you’ve let yourself down. It may take a toll on your ability to sleep, care for yourself and your loved ones, and care for your business.


Finally, comes acceptance. At this point, you’ve decided that transitioning out of your business is the right move to make. The good news is that transitioning doesn’t have to be an abrupt action. The better news is that working with an exit coach can make the transition easier to confront. Your exit coach can help you create a plan that works with your expectations for exiting, from valuation to the final sale.

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