Do you ever have those moments when you are telling a story to someone and you have an epiphany?  You realize some insight that you could not wrap your head around at the time the story was actually taking place, and her it lands as you are in full on story-telling mode.  It may even come out as a phrase that you never said before.

That happened to me recently.  I was working with a client on selling their business.  We were discussing a recent offer and the client was a little, shall we say, quiet.

Are You Going to Jump?

The reason this was surprising to me was because my entire push is to build a business to work for you, not the other way around.  Which means that if and when you get to sell, you can cash in some chips and either retire (who are we kidding) or start something new and exciting.

Quiet is not typically the result of bringing in some money and releasing yourself from the typical problems that any business typically experiences.  Usually you get more of an overjoyed reaction.

So I was talking this situation out with a business friend of mine and I had my epiphany.  My client is in love with the pain. The pain of doing business, of being needed, of having all of those little fires to put out and plates to spin.

More Plates to Spin

Once my client would sell their business, those issues go away, and one of the worst feelings in the world may set in.  The feeling of loneliness, or simply not being needed. They would essentially be getting paid to leave.

Although that is pretty sweet, it can also tug on your heart a bit.  To sell a business you probably grew a business. To grow a business you had to suffer through some challenges.  As you had overcome those challenges you get badges of honor ingrained in your mind. Your pride shows through and you get addicted to the feeling of being able to conquer something, and to be needed.

Then you sell and instead of this feeling of domination and strength, you have a piece of paper that you can deposit at a bank that essentially equates to a bunch of numbers on a screen.

Maybe you buy a Corvette or a vacation as a gift to yourself.

The sinking feeling of, “What now?” begins to envelop you.

I’ve Always Wanted

So what is a previous or soon-to-be previous business owner to do?

Before you sell, make sure you are ready.  Do you have a plan for what to do with the money you’ll receive?  What about your new found time? What dreams will this help bring to reality?

Write down some of this.  Seriously, you should take a couple hours in a relaxing spot to just brainstorm your opportunities.  Having a direction or a new area of focus is a key to success here.

The thing about entrepreneurs is that we always have ideas.  This door may be closing, so to speak, but you get to find or build a brand new door!  What would you like to see on the other side of that door?

Make sure you evaluate your options.  Do you sell now or grow now and sell later?  Will there be a market later? Finding a buyer can be tough.  What is your timeline like outside of the business? Would it make sense to cash out now while a buyer is ready rather then just waiting until you are perfectly ready and having to continue running the business as you search for a buyer?

Regardless, I wish you the best in your decision and your new ventures explored from these new opportunities.

Don’t forget to take a moment to breathe a bit, celebrate your sale, reward your employees and feel all that you have accomplished as you pass it on to the new owners.

Then get back to work.  We entrepreneurs don’t run on stagnation.  Keep it moving is my mantra and it would serve you well to be yours too.

James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t helping his clients grow to sell, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221.  Appreciate the pain you experience in your business while it exists, then celebrate when it leaves and you run to the bank.

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