Managing Your Emotion When Leaving Your Business

Exiting your business is often one of the most stressful experiences of your life. As a business owner, you have spent years – sometimes decades – building and developing your business and have put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears. When it comes time to plan your exit, it can be challenging to imagine letting it go, given that it can become a major part of your identity. Many owners share that leaving their business is one of their biggest fears. In fact, many business owners list retirement as being as significant as divorce, taxes and death! While common feelings can also include depression and anxiety, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – something we refer to as ‘refirement’ – or taking on a whole new approach to the next stage of your life.

Here are some tips to help you create a successful exit:

  1. Only sell your business when you are personally committed to the process, both mentally and emotionally – take our personal readiness questionnaire to understand your emotional attachment and desire to sell the business. It will also help you to understand your financial situation and future perceived lifestyle.
  2. Change your mindset – instead of looking at succession as retirement, see it as the post-career phase of your life. Refocusing your priorities and considering the activities you enjoy outside of work will help you look forward to the future.
  3. Choose a buyer (or successor) that will confidently lead your business – finding a buyer that you can trust will ease the challenge of stepping down from your business.
  4. Identify your willingness and desire to participate in company governance activities (eg. advisory board) – many former CEO’s remain involved in some capacity.
  5. Consult a mentor who has been through the succession planning process.
  6. Join a professional business support group where issues can be discussed openly and confidentially.
  7. Develop a relationship with a professional exit planning specialist.

Ascend Business Partners can help you from the moment you first consider succession planning to the day you leave your business for the last time. Start your succession planning process by scoring your business with our exit planning calculator and speaking to an exit planning advisor. Our advisors will provide up to a 45 minute phone call or email response, free of charge, to help you feel confident in your step towards succession.

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