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For some business owners, selling their business is like going through “The 7 Stages of Grief”

  |   investment banking, selling a business

uncertaintyIf you work in M&A, you will know these stages well.  If you are a business owner, you better get used to them:

SHOCK: What they feel when their advisor says their baby is worth a LOT less than they thought (more like hoped).

DENIAL: When they tell their advisor, “that can’t be right, you need to look at all the hard work I have put in over the years” (hint, that work has no value to a buyer)

ANGER: When the advisor gets offers for the business that are in line with the valuation, NOT the price range that the owner expected (buyers don’t care if a seller gets mad – they will not overpay for a business)

BARGAINING: When the owner tells the advisor to find more buyers who will see the REAL VALUE of their business (advisors say yes, and then often focus on other clients for a while)

DEPRESSION: When the owner gets “busy” on “important matters” of the business, and stops talking to their advisor (advisors continue from prior point)

TESTING: When the owner calls the advisor back and says, “hey, is that buyer’s offer still available?” (advisors pay more attention – because other clients are moving through the grief process too)

ACCEPTANCE: When the owners reluctantly agrees to sign the Letter Of Intent, and the REAL bargaining begins with Due Diligence, etc. (a truly great day!)

(Sad news – these 7 stages can repeat all the way until the closing table).

M&A is not for the faint of heart…


If you are a business owner who’d like to think more deeply about your business,download the free guide , “What’s Next For Your Future”

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