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Exploring emotional aspects of selling your business

This article is the fifth in a series of six provided by UBS Financial Services Inc.

Selling a business can be an emotional journey for owners who have invested significant time and effort into building their company. Emotional readiness is essential to make objective decisions throughout the process. Reflect on your personal goals, motivations and the impact the sale will have on your life. It may be helpful to seek support from family, friends or professional counselors who can provide guidance and help manage the emotional aspects of the sale.

Here are some key emotional considerations to keep in mind when selling a company:

Attachment and identity: Many business owners develop a strong attachment to their company over the years. The business becomes a part of their identity and letting go can be challenging. It's important to recognize the emotional investment you have in the business and acknowledge that selling may bring about a sense of loss or a shift in your identity.

Mixed emotions: The decision to sell a company can elicit a mix of emotions. You may experience excitement about the new possibilities ahead, as well as apprehension or anxiety about the unknown. It is normal to feel a sense of pride in what you have accomplished while also feeling a sense of sadness or nostalgia about leaving behind something you have built.

Fear of change: Selling a company represents a significant change in one's life. It may involve leaving a familiar routine, a network of colleagues, and a sense of purpose tied to the business. Fear of the unknown, such as what comes next or how to adjust to a new lifestyle, can create emotional challenges.

Loss of control: As a business owner, you are accustomed to being in control and making decisions that directly impact your company. When selling, you may need to relinquish control and navigate through a process that involves negotiations, due diligence, and collaboration with buyers. This loss of control can be emotionally challenging, especially if you have been the driving force behind the business.

Financial security and future: The financial implications of selling a company can evoke a range of emotions. You may feel a sense of relief and security knowing that the sale will provide financial stability for yourself and your family. However, concerns about how the proceeds will be managed, investments and planning for the future may also arise.

Impact on employees: If your company has a team of employees, the emotional impact of selling extends beyond your own experience. You may feel a sense of responsibility toward your employees and worry about their well-being, job security and the impact of the sale on their lives. Balancing the best interests of your employees while navigating the sale process can create emotional tension.

Transition and letting go: Selling a business often involves a transition period where you hand over responsibilities and knowledge to the new owner. Letting go of the day-to-day operations and seeing someone else take the reins can be emotionally challenging. It may take time to adjust to a new role or find new ways to contribute.

Personal reflection and legacy: Selling a business prompts personal reflection and evaluation of the legacy you leave behind. You may reflect on the impact you have made, the values instilled in the company, and the contributions you have made to employees, customers and the community. Considering your legacy and how it will be remembered can evoke deep emotions.

It is essential to acknowledge and process these emotional considerations throughout the sale process. Seek support from trusted friends, family members, or professional counselors who can provide guidance and a listening ear. Surrounding yourself with a strong support system can help you navigate the emotional journey of selling a business and find a sense of closure and satisfaction in the decision.

As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, UBS Financial Services Inc. offers investment advisory services in its capacity as an SEC-registered investment adviser and brokerage services in its capacity as an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Investment advisory services and brokerage services are separate and distinct, differ in material ways and are governed by different laws and separate arrangements. It is important that you understand the ways in which we conduct business, and that you carefully read the agreements and disclosures that we provide to you about the products or services we offer. For more information, please review the client relationship summary provided at


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