Are You Mentally Ready to Sell Your Business?

2018, 20 Nov | In Managing Risk, Selling a Business

Being mentally ready to sell your business is the first step to looking at our life’s work in terms of its reward and contribution to your future.

As entrepreneurs we are by nature definitive and driven yet flexible and adaptive to market conditions. These same characteristics allow us to single-mindedly advance our businesses over difficult terrain and rise above adversity. We have the ability to quickly course correct and respond to the marketplaces favor or challenges.

In addition to these strengths, mental toughness is a learned skill and valuable to develop for the entrepreneur.

Are You Ready to Sell, Internally

Have you found your internal dialog to include any of these statements?

It’s time to get out.

I wonder if I could sell my company now.

What if I sell my company in 5 years.

When I hit age 60 …

These are all thoughts or milestones every business owner plays with or dreams about. Some set definitive goals and make actionable plans. Or perhaps you find yourself envisioning days on the golf course or behind the wheel of our dream car.

Others set measurements more qualitative in nature: when/if I get tired I will quit, when/if I achieve this change I will sell. “When” and “If” are powerful words. For being only 2 and 4 letters they lack the necessary outcomes to initiate the mental synapses needed for movement.

Are You Ready to Sell, Externally

Sometimes business owners are stirred by external circumstance like an unsolicited offer that gets our exit salivary glands going.

Sometimes a health scare motivates us to change gears.

Perhaps a values re-alignment as to what is truly important in life motivates you – more time with the family vs. a few more shekels for example.

Whatever your motivation, a great deal of mental (emotional), and financial planning needs to happen to insure you are truly ready to exit your business on your terms.  As we have seen in business, when opportunity and preparedness meet good things happen. The same is true of having an integrated plan for business exit. Luck or timing should never be relied upon when selling your business

Knowing yourself and where you stand both personally and in relation to your role in your business are key drivers to determining your readiness to exit your business.

Mentally which Entrepreneur are You?

  1. Prepared – Have all ducks in a row, succession / exit planned and can envision the future without your company.
  2. Enmeshed- Feel trapped, you can’t imagine your business surviving without you. Business has become both hobby and lifestyle.
  3. Un-imaginative – Been too busy working or have made your business so much of who you are. You cannot imagine what you will do if your company sells or have put off exit planning.
  4. Invested vs. Owned – Measure business on ROI and see exit or keeping the business as an investment vs. a lifestyle or career decision. Business works for you vs. you work for the business.
  5. Other?

Ultimately the degree to which we can be mentally prepared and keep the time table of our decision making within your control is the degree to which you can realize the fruits of your life’s work. “If and when” and “I want” are incomplete as far as our brains ability to process outcomes.

More accurately, as business owners we want to move our thinking from the “wish” or “if” stage to the “If then, I will” or “If I do this, the outcome will be that” and align all our mental energy to secure that outcome.

Knowing where you are financially is the second key element to knowing your true readiness to exit despite where you are mentally and emotionally.

Untimely the alignment of the mental and financial considerations can make for an integrated and rewarding exit. Or a painful reality if one is not balanced with the other.