The Psychological Effects of Selling Your Business

Selling your business is more than just a financial transaction. The process can be emotionally taxing, time intensive, and perplexing at times. It is important to become aware of the common psychological effects to prepare in advance and find the right advisory partner to help you navigate the transaction.

First, while buyers will view the sales process from a transactional perspective with minimal emotion, a business owner’s perspective is largely personal and emotional. With generation one/founder-owned businesses, it can be difficult for the business owner to separate his/her own identity from the actual business. After having poured their blood, sweat, tears, and cash into building the company, the business owner’s persona may be wrapped up in the business. When it comes time to sell the company, at least initially, a business owner may feel a sense of great loss akin to grief. Albeit the norm, it may take time to mourn for the loss of that strong attachment. By having clarity around the reasons for selling a company and post-transaction goals, business owners can minimize that sense of loss and mitigate the range of emotions that come with a sales transaction.

Second, the journey of selling your business can be a long and exhaustive process.  We often find this to be a surprise to business owners, many of whom are convinced their transaction will be quick and easy. To maintain perspective throughout the process, it is important to have an understanding of the complexities, and of the time and commitment involved to get to the finish line. Deal fatigue is real, and just having that awareness and expectation of the demands required may help to reduce the exhaustion and sense of overwhelm you may experience during the transaction process.

Finally, your emotions may very well run the gamut during the process. However, by focusing on the reasons you chose to embark upon the journey of selling your company and by maintaining realistic expectations as they relate to timing, requests, valuation, and so on, you will be better equipped to manage the complex facets of a sales transaction.

Aberdeen Advisors is a boutique mergers and acquisitions firm dedicated to helping business owners successfully navigate the intricacies of a sales transaction. Made up of former business owners and C-suite executives who have run and sold companies, every member of our team has personally experienced the psychological effects associated with selling a company. We pride ourselves on a successful track record of shepherding business owners through the process to ensure a successful outcome.