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Selling Your Business: 5 Ways To Stay Calm Amidst the Stress

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Selling your business for maximum profit and to the right buyer who will carry on your legacy while treating your employees right and delivering amazing value to your clientele is the dream of many business owners.

To get there can be a lengthy, challenging, and stressful process on so many levels. 

Whether selling your business is still years away or you are already in the midst of your exit strategy, there are several critical factors to be aware of and to effectively address. The sooner you begin your preparation for your eventual sale, the better.

Why It Matters To Stay Calm

According to Rocky Mountain Business Advisors, 90% of business owners have most of their net worth tied up in their business so getting it right adds significant stress to the process. Properly preparing your business and yourself for the sale of it can help ensure your net worth will be there to serve you for years to come.

That process can be lengthy too. On average, it can take 6 to 9 months, and often much longer, to sell a business. During that time increasing demands on the sale process and continuing to operate the business add uncertainty, anxiety, and stress onto you, the business owner. Even then about 50% of deals fall apart during the due diligence part.​

The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Selling Your Business

During the process of selling your business expect to ride the emotional roller coaster all the way through. Whether it’s planning your exit strategy, getting offers to buy when you least expect them and aren’t ready to sell yet, or when you do have that offer you are working through there will be emotional highs and lows. Here are some that will likely hit you along the way.

  • Excitement – About the coming payday and the freedom of time or money that you’ll soon have.
  • Pride – Of what you have built, your legacy, and perhaps the lasting impact your business will have even if someone else owns and runs it now.
  • Guilt – In letting your employees down or about choosing the right buyer to treat them and your clients well.
  • Sadness – In letting go of your baby, saying good bye to your employees, your extended support team, and your clients. This has been your work family for quite some time now and that is about to change.
  • Uncertainty – Is this the right timing, the right amount to sell for, or the right buyer? With no work to show up for every day… what’s next?
  • Stress – Each step of the due diligence process adds stress of time needed to work on it while continuing to work in and on your business. There is the stress of something along the way derailing the process. How about the stress of letting others see your books and operations and judging that you have been doing. Of course, the stress of informing your employees, your clients, and others of the change about to happen. So much stress!

How To Stay Calm While Selling Your Business

Begin As Early As Possible

As Stephen Covey says, “begin with the end in mind”. If your eventual goal is to one day sell your business, start preparing your business for that eventual sale now. Then operate your business aligned with that eventual goal.

If you wait until you have an offer or are ready, or worse, needing to sell your business you are probably too late. Too late to get anything but a possible low ball offer if any offer at all. In order to be positioned to get an incredible offer or to be able to better negotiate an offer you love, you must start early and focus on several key things.

Here are 8 Key Drivers Of Company Value, that can get you planning early and in the right direction so that when you are ready to sell, you’ll get all that you want.

These are not simple quick fixes. They will take time to really integrate into your business. They ultimately shape how you do business with your exit strategy firmly in mind. 

Gradually Remove The Security Blanket

If you have built a business with you at the centre of everything you will need to gradually remove yourself from that dependence. Not only will that reduce stress and overwhelm on you, it will position the new owner for continued growth and success.

If your name is in the name of the business, maybe that needs to change or have a way of transitioning upon your exit.

If you currently do all the hands on work with your clients, what is the plan if you sell? Where is the value if you leave? If you have a team of employees then begin to remove yourself from working in the business and let your team take over. Just imagine the freedom it will give you to focus on elements of the business that you love and the ones that need your attention most, especially if you are a long way off from selling.

Now, if you do still love to work in the business, with your clients directly, then be choosey about the number or types of clients or files you take on. Do just enough to satisfy your passion, no more.

If your team is highly dependent on your experience for decision making and approval or you have a tendency to be involved and control everything, it’s time to begin to let that go. When you can empower your employees to be more autonomous with some level of control and decision making it will also help free up time and energy for you. It will position them for that eventual day when you are no longer there.

Gradually remove that security blanket and you will have more time and freedom, your stress will reduce, and your buyer will see a smoother transition following the sale.

TCOYB

As mentioned earlier, the process of selling your business might take 6-9 months or longer. During that process you need to have energy, the ability to focus, concentrate, work, and get things done. You need to take care of your body, your health and well being so that you are best prepared to handle the stress.

This goes for any business owner at any stage of growing a thriving business, but is especially critical during the phase of selling your business. Prioritize your healthy lifestyle even when time is scarce. It will help relieve stress, ground you emotionally, allow you to think and focus clearly.

Be sure to consistently address each of these 4 prominent elements of health and self care.

  • Sleep – An adequate amount of sleep along with good quality of sleep is key. Be consistent most nights, including a wind down routine away from the mental overload of work and the screens. Check out this post on how to get a great nights sleep, along with other great sleep posts too. Poor sleep negatively impacts EVERYTHING!
  • Exercise – Keep up your routine during the selling process. The time it takes to workout will be more than made up in lower stress, greater focus and greater productivity. Even if you have not been regularly exercising consider something as simple as a daily brisk walk. Getting up from your desk and moving is where it starts. Here’s another way to get active every day.
  • Healthy Eating – This may be the toughest element as were are so used to and temped by fast food, quick and convenient but probably not the most healthy. Getting good nutrition into you daily along with good hydration can have a huge impact on your energy and ability to focus and concentrate when you need it most. Here’s a great article on how to optimize nutrition for business success.
  • Stress – Taking care of the above three will have a big impact on lowering stress. There are certainly many other things you can do do minimize stress during the process of selling your business. That could include things like meditation. Consider these forms of energy renewal to help reduce stress and recharge your batteries when you need it most.

Trust in the process

Selling your business is a massive step for a business owner. It really is seeing your baby grow up and head off into the world without you involved day to day as you used to be. That emotional roller coaster for all those reasons can me tempered by your connection with your why for selling your business in the first place and by your trust in the process to get it done.

Know your why for selling, for the life and lifestyle you want to live, and for what is next for you and your family. 

Trust that you will be able to handle the many curve balls that are thrown at you, and there will be many. 

Do take all the time you need to grieve letting go of your baby. It’s a therapeutic part of the process that will serve you well in time.

Remember that this is a process and it will take time.  Have patience and then even more patience. 

Temper your excitement during the process. This might be hard but the delayed gratification that will come with patience and doing the work will be worth it.

Excitedly and proudly share the news of your big change at the right time to do so. Others will rally around and build that excitement and celebrate with you helping to make it all worthwhile.

Trust in your team

Just as it is in running your business right from the start, selling your business is not to be done by yourself. Rely on the expertise and experience of your team that might include a business broker, business lawyer, accountant, financial planner, and perhaps others.

Rely on the trusted advisor support you need to get through every step of the process of selling your business; your life coach for business owners.

Selling your business and having an exit strategy to do so in a way that is right for you and sets up the rest of your life is what it’s all about. A final thought is that an often forgotten about step is once your business is sold, once you have fulfilled any obligations for transition, and you now wake up in the morning without anything to do… NOW WHAT?

Identifying a sense of purpose, a reason for getting up out of bed every day to do something that energizes and fulfills you is a must. Here’s how I can help set up the rest of your life.

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Written by
BRENT HAYDEY

Brent Haydey is an experienced life and business coach in Edmonton, renowned for his calming, empathetic, and results-driven approach. With over 30 years of experience, he specializes in helping individuals and entrepreneurs find balance and success, blending teaching, mentoring, and coaching for impactful life changes.

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