Many business owners find making the decision to sell very emotionally difficult. A lot of this has to do with their attachment to the business, and all of the countless hours and hard work they put into it. Because of this dedication, they often feel like they are losing a part of themselves by selling. For this reason, a lot of them also feel guilty or shameful about it. It is important to recognize that these feelings are normal. However, for a lot of business owners, selling is the next logical progression in their careers, and they should be at peace with walking away, if that’s what makes the most sense.
The Feeling of Quitting
One of the stigmas around selling a business is that it feels too much like quitting. All business owners need to understand that at some point, they will have to exit their business. This can happen by their own action, such as choosing to retire or sell. It can also happen because of circumstances beyond their control, such as health, financial issues or a failing business. In choosing to sell, you have decided to exit on your own terms.
There is no shame in just deciding that you do not want to run your business anymore, or that you are ready to try something else. It does not make you a quitter. Business owners have to overcome many obstacles to run a business, so if you were really a quitter your business would have already failed. Burnout is a common reason for wanting to sell and it is a good reason. If running your business feels more like a job than a passion, you should consider selling before it gets worse and has an adverse effect on the company.
Letting Go of Your Identity
If you have owned your business long enough, it has probably become a big part of who you are and how you see yourself. The business defines you both personally and professionally. Selling it will certainly feel like letting a part of yourself go, but it does not have to. See your exit as an opportunity that will open new doors. The knowledge and experiences you gained through running your company can help you in the next chapter of your life or career. Your business will always be a part of who you are, even if it is in the past. Similarly, whatever venture you decide to embark on next will also become part of you as your identity evolves. You will continue to be yourself, without the burden or baggage that comes with running your business.
Leaving Success on the Table
Having high aspirations is a good thing. Being ambitious is what helps you to run a successful business. Do not allow blind ambition to be your only factor in making a decision keep or sell your company. Setting goals for your business is always advisable, but sometimes you must face the reality that they do not need to reach every single one of them to be able to call your company or yourself successful. Some people are always moving the needle further away, never being satisfied after their achievements. That type of drive is great to have, but you also need to ask yourself the question: “How much is enough?”. How much is enough to retire? How much is enough to start your next business opportunity or investment?
Do not put off your future just so you can squeeze a little more out of your business. Finding the perfect time to sell a business is very difficult, but ideally, you want to sell when your business is close to, or at its peak value, so you can maximize the return on your investment. If you keep moving the target, you might miss your best chance to sell. The point is that if you can get a great price for your business, and it is enough to meet your other goals, don’t worry about missing out on future profits or selling yourself short.
If it seems like it might be better for you to hang on to your business a little longer, make sure the ends justify the means. If holding out for a little more money causes you to miss your window to sell, it could turn out to be a costly mistake. Whatever decision you make, just be sure to base it on what is best for your career, your life and your future. Don’t dwell on missed profits and sales, or allow shame and guilt to dictate your actions. Your business exit can be a jumping off point for something even greater than what you already have.
If you are ready to sell a business in Southwest Florida, or need help in planning your exit, contact Corporate Investment Business Brokers (CIBB) in Fort Myers. CIBB will give you a free business valuation estimate, after which you can decide on whether choosing to sell is the best decision you can make. Our experienced brokers can also help you with a succession plan that will prepare you for life after the sale.
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