You built a salable business. You found the right buyer. You overcame the emotional barriers to selling your business. You trudged through due diligence, negotiation, and financing. You were at the finish line…
And then a pandemic took hold. The economy took a turn. Your business took a hit. Your buyer backed out.
Quitting is not in your vocabulary. Neither is losing. You are resolute and unwavering in your ability to build your business back up and sell it. Here are the viable roads you can take en route to redemption:
1. Get in the Driver’s Seat
Once you have worked through the emotional aspect of selling, you are ready to exit. It is not easy to dial back and reinvest in the same business that you decided to sell, but it is certainly an option for the fiercely competitive entrepreneur. There will be difficult conversations and humbling explanations. It entails much more than positive thinking. You are taking on a personal challenge to motivate yourself every day and fight through the setbacks.
As the owner of a seasoned business, you have made it through economic uncertainty and hardship in the past. Resiliency is in your DNA. If you feel up for a longer haul than you originally anticipated, believe in yourself and get after it. You will grow and become stronger as a person, regardless of the outcome.
2. Hire a New Driver
If you are not interested in going back to running your business, that is fine. Consider hiring a CEO or COO to steer the business on your behalf.
Remember, your greatest asset as a business owner is equity. When you sell the business, the buyer is purchasing that equity. If you are able to take a lower salary, you can protect your equity and retain ownership of the business by bringing in someone to run the company. The key in this instance, of course, is your ability to relinquish control and let that person lead.
3. Ride Shotgun
One of the qualifiers for selling your business is a competent, capable, and well-established senior leadership team. The fact that you nearly reached a deal shows you likely have personnel who can keep your business intact without your everyday involvement.
If you do not want to return as the leader and do not want to hire someone new to step in, promoting from within might be the best choice. In this case, you will want to coach the senior leader(s) you appoint and equip them to grow. Also, be sure to create a board of advisors to oversee both your leadership coaching and the senior leader(s)’ development.
Losing a deal to a recession does not relegate you to the parking lot. And you do not have to accept shutting down or taking a lowball offer as your only choices. Keep your poise, weigh the options, and commit to your decision for the future ahead. We’re here if you need a sounding board as you map your path forward.