Selling your business is an exciting process. Yet the prospect of letting go of the business you’ve invested your money and time — not to mention your blood, sweat and tears — into for so many years can also be daunting.
That’s why you need to prepare yourself emotionally for your manufacturing business exit. Here are some points to consider.
Let Go of Your Manufacturing Business
When you’ve been involved with the founding, running and expanding of your business for years or even decades, it’s only natural to feel a significant personal connection to it. In addition to your passion for the business itself, you’ve probably developed many friendships with employees and business associates over the years.
Moreover, you’ve most likely aligned the business’s success with your own personal accomplishments. So it’s not strange to feel anger, sorrow and a sense of loss when it’s time to sell your business, as Inc. points out.
Nevertheless, you have to take a step back and be as objective as possible if you want a good sale. A display of negative emotions can deter potential buyers and impact your running of the business during the sales process.
And after the transaction is completed, you’re best advised to refrain from checking in to see how the business is doing — unless the new owner has solicited your input. In short, you need to acknowledge to yourself that you’ve done a great job with your business… but now it’s time to move on — onward and upward!
Change Your Self-Image
One of the reasons many people fear selling their manufacturing business is because their identity is closely intertwined with their self-image. As AARP points out, for almost everyone, our professions are a major part of our identity.
For entrepreneurs who dedicate significantly more time and energy than regular employees to their work, this is even more true. So whether you’re exiting your business in order to retire or because you want to move on to a new challenge, it’s wise to spend some time thinking about how your identity will be affected.
Simply leaving the business owner role and not replacing it with another meaningful role can leave you lost and depressed — and that’s something to avoid at all cost.
One of the most challenging things about selling your business is filling the void that’s left in your life afterwards. There are two options:
- Moving on professionally: If you intend to open another business or accept a position in another business, your days will most likely be filled. However, you need to plan ahead for this, as Forbes points out. It involves really considering what your next professional step will entail and whether or not the day-to-day tasks will make you happy.
- Retiring: If you’re going to retire, it’s important to understand that, according to Psychology Today, a lot of people have unrealistic expectations about retirement. They think they’ll take up all sorts of hobbies such as golf or tennis, or perhaps travel the world with their spouse. But unless you’re already passionate about golf, tennis, traveling or another hobby, it’s unlikely that you’ll suddenly be able to fill your days with it. So you need to take the time to map out what types of leisure activities interest you and how you can leverage them to replace work.
Note that recent research shows that people who are productive and have meaningful careers live the longest lives. In other words: staying productive and engaged and consistently setting new goals is key to living a long and fulfilling life even after selling your business.
This can involve making a profession out of a passion — for example, leveraging your manufacturing business knowledge for consulting or using your skills to develop new patents. At the same time, it can also mean getting involved with a non-profit organization where you can put your leadership skills to use to the benefit of the community.
Seek Social Support
When you run your own business, your employees are your family — and that often gives you a sense of community and shared purpose, as Harvard Business Review reports. To ensure you don’t feel isolated after the sale, it can be beneficial to join a peer group for people who have been through the same experience.
Tiger21 is one example of an organization that counts many former entrepreneurs among its members. Other ways to find a new community include:
- Joining a church group.
- Joining a local charity.
- Joining one or more LinkedIn groups.
- Joining a local community group or club.
When you’ve spent a lifetime building your manufacturing business, closing the door behind you for the last time can be intimidating. But if you prepare properly by thinking about what you want to do with your time and surrounding yourself with people who support you, you stand a good chance of making a smooth, successful transition.