Tag Archive: baby_boomer

Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small BusinessManaging the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business
Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business. Don’t let your emotions–sorrow, anger, or a sense of loss–hijack the sale of your small business. Here are tips on keeping a level head.

Selling the small business you’ve built over many years, or even decades, is never easy. But for many entrepreneurs, the hardest part isn’t preparing the business for the marketplace or finding the right time to exit.

As a business owner, you have invested a significant portion of your life in your enterprise. Over time, you likely have developed a personal connection to your company and for better or worse, your small business has become an important part of your daily life.

So when it’s time to say goodbye, it can feel like you are losing a member of the family. Sorrow, anger, a sense of loss–entrepreneurs experience a wide range of emotions during the sale process. And if those emotions are left unchecked, they can have a real dollar impact on the outcome of your business sale. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

Although it’s natural to feel sentimental or even a little sad, you can’t let emotions like anger and defensiveness alienate prospective buyers or dictate the terms of the sale. As much as possible, you need to find ways to remain objective, creating space between your emotions and your decision-making routines before, during and after the sale.

Before the Sale

Emotional baggage jeopardizes the profitable and timely sale of your small business. As a result, one of the most important things you can do to manage your emotions is to prepare a comprehensive exit strategy long before you are ready to list your company in the business-for-sale marketplace.

By planning your exit in advance, you will be more emotionally prepared for the transition when it actually occurs. Your family members should also be involved in the exit planning process since the business has likely been a major part of their lives and they may need time to adjust to the idea of someone else owning your company. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

At some point in the exit planning process, you will need to seriously consider what you will do after the sale has been finalized. Sellers who lack a solid plan for the next stage of life find it difficult to let go of their businesses and are more likely to allow personal emotions to hijack the process.

During the Sale

During the sale process, it’s critical to remain focused on operating your business until it has been legally transferred to the new owner(s) since deals can suddenly evaporate during due diligence or other stages of the process. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

But to commit time and energy to running your business, you will likely need to rely on the assistance of third-party professionals (e.g. brokers, attorneys, accountants, etc.) for various seller functions. The added benefit of outsourcing specific seller functions is that professionals bring objectivity to the process so that interactions with prospective buyers are based on facts, not emotions.

It can also be useful to confidentially consult with peers during the sale process. Rather than wrestling with your emotions on your own, consult with trusted members of your peer network and seek advice about what they experienced during the sale of their businesses.

Also, you should think carefully about what role you may be willing to play during the transition of your business to a new owner. Many buyers desire that the previous owner remain with the business, on a consulting basis, for three to six months after the transaction, to help ease the transition. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

Make sure that you’re emotionally prepared to play this role in a professional manner. It is important to recognize that key decisions will no longer be your own and that you may not agree with all of the changes the new owner is making.

After the Sale

Business owners are frequently flooded with emotions after they have finalized the sale and transitioned out of the business. Now that they finally have time to reflect, sellers can feel a sense of loss, especially if they developed close friendships with their employees.

But unless the new owner has asked for your advice, it’s a bad idea to check in on the business after the sale has been completed and you’ve moved on. It’s likely that the buyer will have made changes in the business and it can be difficult to accept the fact that someone else is calling the shots in the company you built. Similarly, try to avoid talking about the business with your former employees in social situations since little good can come from second-guessing the new owner in front of current employees. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

Although the emotions you may be feeling are real, the bottom line is that you and your business have moved on. Instead of looking backward, it’s time for both you and the business to move forward and embrace the next stage of life. Managing the Emotional Toll of Selling Your Small Business

Unleashing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit During the Golden Years

ccording to a study from the Kauffman Foundation, the majority of U.S. entrepreneurs are retirees. During the past ten years, 55 to 64-year-olds have shown the most entrepreneurial activity. While 20 to 34 year-olds have shown the least. Further, the AARP Public Policy Institute said that in 2008, 21 percent of self-employed individuals were between 55 and 64, and 10 percent were 65 or older. The numbers in the technology industry are even more dramatic: A 2008 Kauffman Foundation study shows that twice as many companies in this sector have been founded by individuals over age 50 than by those that are under age 25.

There could be many reasons people are starting their own companies during retirement: The first of the baby-boomers reach 65 this year and may not be ready to retire yet, perhaps because they are still excited by what they currently do or want to pursue a long-held dream. Given the economic landscape, some may need to work longer out of financial necessity, especially considering that life expectancy in the United States has increased dramatically.

Boomers Retire.pngIf you are approaching or are currently of retirement age and are interested in starting a small business, here are some things you may want to consider:

If you are not in a position to take on a major financial risk, keeping upfront expenses to a minimum may be the way to start out.
Don’t forget that, as an older entrepreneur, you may have broader job skills, more contacts and better access to capital, either from your own savings or through your work and personal networks, compared to younger entrepreneurs.
You can create a business that builds on your prior career by identifying a market gap in your industry.

Older entrepreneurs have plenty of company. So if you are considering taking the plunge into small business ownership, remember you are not alone, and it’s never too late.