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Training someone else to run your business after you’ve sold it

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Selling a business is not a quick and easy process. It usually takes months or even years from when you decided to sell to when you finally handover the keys to the new owner.

Of course, even once this has happened, you may still be around to keep things running smoothly during the handover period. 

This agreed upon period of time can be a great way for the buyer to have some help learning the ropes after they have bought their new venture and it can also be good for you, the seller, if you want to see your business continue to thrive even after it’s no longer yours.

This should all be decided during negotiations and you may have been able to negotiate a higher price for your business by including this handover period in the deal. 

It sounds like a win-win but there are a lot of business owners who have a hard time relinquishing control and stepping back during this time. After being the boss for so many years, it can be difficult to see someone else in charge.

Here are five things you can do to make this process easier:

Put everything in writing

Over the years, as your business has grown, there will be a lot of things that will have been done that exist only in your head. Who the suppliers are, the people you’ve done business with over the years, the processes you use, and your customer list are just some of these.

When you are handing over, these need to be written down and made into a document or something similar that the buyer will be able to refer to. These things are of huge value to the business and so should not be lost when you leave.

Get support from your staff

Handing over to a buyer can, in part, be difficult because they haven’t been with you on the journey of developing your business. Hopefully, though, you will have some employees who you have had with you for a while who you’ve come to trust.

If these employees are staying on with the new management, it could be a great idea to bring them into the process. Handing over some of the responsibility to them will probably come more naturally to you.

Prepare for the process

Don’t be caught off guard by the handover. 

During negotiations, you and the buyer should have been clear about what would be expected from each party.  If you have thought about what this process will entail, you should be able to prepare yourself to be ready to let go of your business. 

Trust your choice of buyer

When you have close ties to your business, you will have spent months carefully choosing the right kind of buyer to buy your business. The months that you have spent going through the sales process are valuable.

You should trust your own judgment and who you settled on as the new owner of the business. Allow yourself to let go of your business knowing that you made the right decision. 

Keep your emotions in check

Selling your business is a trying and emotional time, however, a handover period will only work if you are able to leave your emotions at the door

The buyer will be trying to find their footing, and this may include doing things a little differently to how you have done them in the past. You need to be level headed and remember that any conflict will be counter intuitive to the handover process. 

Keep focused on your position as seller rather than boss.