Posted at thestreet.com 11/16/12
NEW YORK -- Q: My wife and I started a small business seven years ago, which we've put our backs and hearts into. The last three years have been really tough and we're going to sell. I can't help being overly skeptical of all potential buyers. There's a buyer that both my wife and our financial adviser approve of. I don't agree with them; my wife says I'm making business personal. Obviously, I need some non-biased advice on how to approach this process. Thanks!
A: Your business has been your baby; a creation you successfully saw through to completion. I would absolutely expect a great resistance in the final moments before you sell.
However, it is now time to be practical.
Your financial adviser is on board, so I will assume the business is being sold at a fair price.
Your wife and co-creator of the business has approved the deal as well, further suggesting these buyers are fair-minded and well-intentioned.
It seems to me your objections are rooted in fear of what the business will look like in the future. Once you sell, you recognize this won't be "your business" to worry about at all. As difficult as this seems to wrap your head around, you've clearly been able to comprehend the magnitude; that's why you're resisting the cessation of control.
The sacrifice in exchange for getting money from the sale, is the acceptance that you will lose the right to define the future of the business. Therefore, you will most likely object to any new owner that isn't you or your wife.
Your objections to these buyers has nothing to do with them personally. You're dragging your feet because "giving up" something that you put everything into frequently feels like an admission of failure.
Switch your thinking and context immediately.
You aren't "giving up," you're moving on. This decision to sell was one of necessity. You and your wife are being very realistic, your resolve to bring in capital is admirable and intelligent.
Don't suffer too loudly and back out at the last minute due to a false sense of pride. From a societal and economy-based perspective, remember that this is not the time to worry over the purchaser.
The fact that there is actually a market you can sell to is phenomenal, my friend. Countless numbers of small business owners would leap at the chance to be in your shoes right now. It's time to close a chapter and begin your new adventure.
Not every business move made will last forever; yet for seven years you ran this business successfully. Now someone else actually wants to give you currency to have the privilege of continuing your creation. Fantastic! I'm not just brownnosing here, there exists proven and factual evidence to light our way.
I would at this point suggest you listen and defer to your trusted counselors. Embrace the excitement of future challenges that await you.
There is no time like the present!
Good luck, sir.
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Have a profitable and peaceful week,
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