Are you mentally ready to sell your business?

2015, 18 Jun | In Exit Planning

Author: Craig Dickens

Entrepreneurs by nature are definitive and driven yet flexible and adaptive to market conditions. These same characteristics allow them to single-mindedly advance their businesses over difficult terrain and rise above adversity while simultaneously having the ability to quickly course correct and respond to the marketplaces favor or challenges.

Mental toughness and acuity to listen and look for forces larger than their desires are learned skills and valuable to develop for the entrepreneur.

Internal Desires

I want to sell; I could sell now; I could sell in 5 years; When I hit 60 etc., are all thoughts or milestones every business owner plays with or dreams about. Some set definitive goals and make actionable plans. Others visualize and practice their plans. Dream about golfing 3 days a week after you sell your business try it on for size for a week or two.

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

External Feedback

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.

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

Whatever your motivation, a great deal of mental (emotional), and financial planning and trial-ballooning 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.

Ultimately the degree to which we can be mentally prepared and keep the time table of your 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.

Ultimately the alignment of the mental and financial considerations can make for an integrated and rewarding exit, or it can be a painful reality if one is not balanced with the other.

May you Exit well!

Craig Dickens is an Investment Banker, Serial Entrepreneur, and Angel investor who specializes in helping business owners and corporate leaders position their business for long term success and challenges them to grow personally in the process. Author of a proprietary strategy Grow Fast & Exit Profitably!™ Dickens councils and coaches CEO’s and business owners based on a results driven partnership to build lasting value in their business and insuring growth in managerial skills. Craig is a partner in the Corporate Finance Group of Finance 500 and can be reached at 253.370.8893