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Considering a Sale of the Family Business?

If you are considering entertaining offers from potential buyers to purchase your enterprise, it is critical that you consider the following:

  • Determine whether it is a good deal for you and the other shareholders, and perhaps even the more emotionally connected stakeholders like employees and vendors.
  • Hire the very best business attorney and tax advisory services you can afford.
  • Start lining up money managers, bankers and financial advisors well in advance of the closing.
  • Plan a wonderful vacation for you and your family. Following a complex transaction like the sale of a family business, trust me, you’ll be ready for one.

Think about what you’re going to do next.
Most top-level family managers in a family firm—the CEO and/or the chairman—will often have loose ideas like improving their golf game, getting involved in some sort of giving back activities, maybe traveling or building a house in a forested or warm-weather hideaway.

Painfully, I come across a good number of “retired” CEOs and chairmen from family businesses living in beautiful, immaculately kept homes who find themselves with nothing useful to do. They’ve tried golf, traveling, gardening, basement remodeling, pilot training and dog training, and in most cases within 24 months they’re dead bored. And bored A-type personality folks can be a danger to themselves and their families.

Is it sometimes wise to sell the family business? Sure. There are all sorts of rational and sometimes compelling reasons to do so. But if you are going to sell, do yourself and your loved ones a favor. Do some serious soul searching. Ask yourself what you can do that will bring you joy and add value to what remains of your life. What will be your new devotion? If you can’t answer that question, consider working with a counselor or therapist experienced in helping folks through life-altering transitions.

Trust me, once the family business is sold, your life and the lives of those you live with are going to change dramatically. After working so hard for so many years, you owe it to yourself to invest the time and resources needed to identify and launch whatever will make you most happy in the next stage of your life.

 

 

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