It’s easy to get excited about the M&A process when you’ve decided to sell and you start to see dollar signs. But selling your company can be one of the most stressful things you can do. An experienced investment bank can help alleviate stress. The reality, however, is that most owners cycle through every imaginable emotion, and may spend parts of the process in a state of anxiety. Here’s some of what you can expect and what you can do to mitigate negatives emotions that come with the process of a business sale.

Challenging Buyers 
Some of the best buyers are also some of the smartest. They will have a robust team that will have plenty of experience with all facets of the M&A process, especially due diligence. Due diligence is in-depth and can be exhausting, especially if your financials are not prepared ahead of time. Not only must you be prepared to answer every conceivable question and present myriad documents, but you must also anticipate the emotional and intellectual challenges of doing so. For most sellers, due diligence is a 60 to 90-day window of very high stress. Having an experienced investment banker on your side can help prepare your business, and uncover any potential “red-flags” before the buyer does, which could prevent the deal or value of your business being seriously impacted.

Businesses Are Inherently Emotional 
Almost all owners are emotionally tied to their business. Their company is the product of years, and sometimes decades, of hard work. Selling can be a blow to the ego, not to mention a source of near-constant anxiety. Owners are accustomed to controlling everything about their business. Instead, selling forces them to live with the fear of the unknown. You may confront questions like:

  • Is it really the right time to sell my business?
  • What will I do after the sale?
  • Has my hard work been worth it?
  • What will be the final sale value of the company?
  • Will I leave money on the table?
  • Why is the process taking so long, and can I do anything to shorten it?
  • Will my staff be ok?
  • Is this the ideal time to sell in this market?
  • Is this my only chance to sell?
  • Am I alienating the best buyer?

Some owners naturally worry more than others. No matter where you fall on the anxiety continuum, know that the right M&A team can help ease some of the last-minute challenges and ongoing hassles of selling a business.

The Business May Suffer 
If you do not plan for the sale and do not have help to manage it, you may take your attention off of the business itself. This can cause you to lose revenue and lose value, triggering even more stress and making the sale process take even longer. This can be a vicious cycle: the owner loses focus on the business, making the sale more stressful, causing the owner to focus even more on the sale and harm the business even more.

A Unique Undertaking for Every Seller 
No two companies or sale processes are identical. In many cases, the extent of the stress depends on who is at the negotiating table. Some deal partners are more difficult to manage than others.

No matter who your deal partner is, the right advisor can greatly ease your stress. They act as your intermediary, delivering bad news in your stead and helping everyone manage their emotions. They also free your time and energy to continue focusing on daily operations, preventing one of the most common M&A catastrophes: a business that declines during the process.

About Madison Street Capital
Madison Street Capital is an international investment banking firm committed to integrity, excellence, leadership and service in delivering corporate financial advisory services to publicly and privately held businesses.

Over the years we have helped clients in hundreds of industry verticals reach their goal in a timely manner. Our experience and understanding in areas of corporate finance and corporate governance is the reason we are a leading provider of financial advisory services, M&A, and valuations. With offices in North America, Asia and Africa, we have adopted a global view that gives equal emphasis to local business relationships and networks.

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