Believe it or not, owners often struggle to think about their life after the sale of their business. Having to reduce your operational involvement and become less physically present at your company might become a challenging realization. We’ve encountered several distinguished founders and former CEOs who said they experienced feelings of loss after an exit.
According to an article published by the Entrepreneur’s Handbook Podcast on Medium, it’s not uncommon for tech start-up company founders to experience sadness after selling their business.
For many owners, building a business is a passion project and the sense of community it can offer may even become a source of happiness. That’s why not considering the eventual loss of a business and the personal impact it may have can potentially result in serious damage to your well-being. Making a plan on how to exit involves an incredible amount of personal reflection not just as an owner, but as a human.
The Significance Principles Every Seller Should Know
The team of expert guides at STS Capital often refer to the “Significance Principles” as a concept that other owners can contemplate before, during, and after selling their business. Applying these principles can help you stay level-headed and composed through the sale process so your emotions do not become a potential obstacle to achieving an Extraordinary Exit.
Principle 1: Control is an illusion.
Most owners are the roots of the company and the center of attention, which can result in them becoming accustomed to exercising authority in the daily and long-term operations of their business. After selling, you will no longer have a place to exercise that same level of authority and ability to control situations. To manage the shift, you will need to learn to control yourself, your actions, and your reactions.
Self-reflection, in addition to other practices you may find useful such as meditation or prayer, can help you find personal resolve as you gradually distance yourself and lose control after leaving your company. Otherwise, you can end up being overwhelmed by situations or experiences in your life after exit that are out of your control.
Principle 2: Your “Title” is not your purpose.
It is common for owners to become invested in being the “CEO” of a company and embrace the status that comes with it. However, titles are only established by the business world and society; they don’t quantify or exemplify self-purpose. As a result, many former executives eventually ask themselves questions such as, “Is this all there is to life?” and “Is this all I’m meant to be?”, and that’s why the idea of finding purpose beyond status is paramount to ensure you can be content with life after you exit.
Principle 3: Pursue what you would do for free.
Asking yourself “what would you do for free?” is an essential life question for every owner planning an exit. When an owner-entrepreneur or family business owner makes the difficult decision to sell, it is life-changing in several aspects. The process is deeply emotional, physical, intellectual, and to some – it can even be a spiritual decision.
By asking and reflecting on this question, you can get clarity on what direction you want to take for the next chapter of your life. This exercise can also prevent feelings of loss and even depression in the months and years that follow. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, emotional fallout should be expected and is impossible to avoid when a founder makes an exit.
Have the Expert Guides to Help You Find Significance
Chris Clements, Managing Director at STS, says he learned and cultivated these valuable lessons in business and life following the sale of his family business. Clements found the surprisingly emotional process of the sale required him to reframe his outlook so he could find peace and purpose.
“Selling a family business can be an emotional endeavor. However, after years of building successful enterprises, an owner has an exciting opportunity to identify the significance of their talents and identify their strengths as purpose they can apply elsewhere,” says Clements.
Clements attributes his insights as a result of spending several years receiving coaching and counseling from life experts across a range of disciplines. He currently uses those learnings to coach and mentor other CEOs in their journey from Success to Significance™ at STS Capital Partners.
Contemplating the Significance Principles is an exercise that when applied, can help you grow from a life of leading a large enterprise or business ownership toward a life of service and dedication. Seeing beyond the monetary value of an exit is essential for owners to find satisfaction in the years after selling.
At STS Capital Partners, our team understands that selling a business is never just a transaction but rather an emotional and psychological journey. We have been in your shoes, and we know that personal satisfaction in a sale goes far beyond the financials.
Our team of expert guides will get multiples over expected value to also provide you the opportunity to reinvest those proceeds for good through philanthropic activities. By doing so, we hope to empower you to leave a lasting legacy and create your own path from Success to Significance™ so you can achieve an Extraordinary Exit.
If you are interested in these insights and learning about the opportunities available for you, please get in touch with us at ExpertGuides@stscapital.com.