Buying/Selling Your Business- Feeling Remorseful?

Part 4 in a 5 part series of an interview with Alan Rose and Chris Bond; Alan and Chris represent business buyers and sellers, respectively.

Ed: Why do you suppose folks suffer from buyer’s or seller’s remorse?

Chris: The seller suffers remorse when he or she has not done a lot of thinking, planning and understanding of what their life will look like after they part with their "baby." So if you imagine a business owner sells the business after having owned it and run it for ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty or more years, if they don’t do a lot of goal-setting, planning, thinking and preparing for what it’s going to look like on the other side, they likely will feel lost, irrelevant and empty inside. So much of their identity was wrapped up in being the owner of that business.

Alan: I totally agree. When you own a business you’re immersed in that business a hundred percent- when it comes time to sell, you have to be looking forward. I sold my business over five years ago, and I still think about it. It becomes part of you; it’s hard to make a break. From the buyer’s side, just the opposite occurs. One can say they understand what it’s like to own a business, but until you have actually owned a business and sat in the corner office in that chair, it’s different. You can run a business for somebody else, but it’s different when it’s your own. I don’t know how to explain that, I just know that it is.

Ed: Do you play role in helping folks deal with or recognize the possibility of remorse?

Chris: I’d like to pick up on Alan’s earlier point about setting expectations, which is such a good one. We absolutely have to work on the front end of the assignment, making sure we understand that, in my case, the seller is mentally prepared to walk away. If I don’t understand that, if I’m not convinced of that, I shouldn’t take the project in the first place. So it’s less to do with helping somebody with a shoulder to cry on, a week after they’ve sold and they feel like they don’t have an identity anymore, and much more to do with really qualifying heavily and understanding that they’re even prepared to walk away in the first place.

Alan: And on the buyer’s side, before I accept a client, we go through a process that often lasts months, in order to make sure that the potential buyer understands the commitment required. And that commitment is an "all in" commitment, including putting their house and family at risk. When we do this, one of the steps that we take is to meet the spouse, to make sure the spouse understands the commitment required and that they are on-board and fully informed.

Alan Rose, Yarmouth Venture Group

Yarmouth Venture Group engages with business managers who have proven leadership capabilities and the desire to achieve a majority ownership stake in a business they will operate. Our firm is positioned to be uniquely qualified to provide expertise and guidance throughout the difficult tasks of finding and acquiring the right company, the right way, and then successfully operating that company.

Chris Bond, Murphy Business

Murphy Business is a business brokerage firm that helps its clients value, sell and buy businesses. With six offices in New England, Murphy’s growing team prides itself on practicing its unifying mission: to assist businesspeople through incomparably fair, honest and expedient service. Murphy’s partners network tirelessly on their client’s behalf in an effort to consummate the best deal possible.

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