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More Than Just the Money

It goes without saying that as a business broker, I want to get you top dollar.  But, there are many other factors that go into the decision to sell that may or may not be in your control.  All of these carry their own emotional weight and need to be approached in the right way.  I'm here for that, too.


Here's an example of all that can be involved:  

Jerry ran a quite successful contract manufacturing company in Ohio.  When he came to me to help him sell his business, I wondered why he would want to get rid of a company that was generating so much steady cashflow.  Something inside me told me that there was more to the story, as there often is when someone is selling their business.


Despite being such a financially healthy company, Jerry made the difficult decision to sell his baby that he had poured so much blood, sweat, and tears into.  Knowing that selling a business is much deeper than just the numbers - the emotional, physical, life implications - I asked him.


Jerry went on to explain that his wife had been diagnosed with dementia and he would have to become her caregiver.  As her Alzheimer’s was early onset, he was at an age where retirement was still just over the horizon and he hadn’t considered doing it any time soon.  But when they got the diagnosis, everything turned upside down.


Of course I was committed to getting Jerry top dollar for his business.  I also wanted to make sure that he and his wife could have the best life possible after the sale.  What will happen after the sale is something that is often overlooked.  Rooted in the reasons for selling, it can look very different for different people.


Because of his caregiving duties, Jerry was burned out and willing to take just about anything for the business.  As the tunnel vision and apathy that come along with burnout began setting in, he spent less focus on the business and it began to show both at work and at home.  Sadly, this is a common story.


As a matter of synchronicity, I have a Masters in Geriatics and have owned a care management agency.  I am also an executive coach and one of my primary focus areas is burnout.  So, I was able to guide Jerry to the right resources from the VA and the Area Agency on Aging.  I coached him out of burnout so that he could see the possibilities and worked with him to come up with a solid care plan.  While doing this, I got him a good amount of money for his business.


This isn’t about me.  I’m grateful that I had the skill set to work with Jerry in his particular situation, but ultimately it’s about him, his wife, and so many other business owners that are selling for so many different reasons.

As has frequently been noted, there are five main reasons for business owners selling:


  1. Retirement (the only one that can be planned for, but still requires a lot of psychological transition as they take on a new role and identity)

  2. Burnout

  3. Death

  4. Divorce

  5. Emergency (such as unexpectedly and suddenly becoming caregiver for a spouse or loved one)


None of these reasons are easy.  Some of them are coupled with others such as caregiving or divorce and burnout.  Selling a business goes so far beyond the numbers; it goes to the core of the owner’s being and what they are experiencing as they sell.  As a broker and advisor, I am committed to keep all facets of the process at the forefront.

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