How would you feel if you sold your business?
Imagine swapping years of blood, sweat and tears for a multi-million pound payday.
It would be easy to think you’d be overjoyed, relieved and excited but many founders are struck by a condition I call ‘seller’s remorse’.
It normally happens when you’ve been immersed in your business 24/7 and you’ve finally sold your business at 3am on Wednesday morning without having discussed what you’re going to do next.
One female founder who sold her business compared it to selling a child and I joked: ‘I don’t think I would have got as much for your child!’
However there’s a serious point here if you are considering selling your business.
It’s essential you figure out what you’re going to do afterwards so you have more of a soft landing than a crash landing.
A lot of sellers speak of a feeling of anti-climax when they put pen to paper.
For a lot of people their identity is tied up in a business so when they sell their business they feel as though they’ve lost their identify too.
If you’ve already been successful the proceeds of a sale can make a big number in your bank account a bit bigger but it’s not going to transform your life.
A lot of people will treat you differently when you’ve sold-up and no longer run the company. That was certainly the case when I sold ATM machine operator Cardpoint.
As well as seller’s remorse another condition I see is ‘Sudden Wealth Syndrome’ (SWS) which impacts people who suddenly become wealthy.
People can feel guilty over their change in circumstances and experience a genuine fear of coming into that amount of money and what would happen if they lost it.
It’s a natural reaction and most of the people who sell a business actually end up giving a large amount of their money away because that makes them happier than it sitting in a bank.
What they like about money is the freedom it gives you rather the feeling of being wealthy. The key point is to plan your life after you’ve sold your business, before you sell it!