The Day After Selling A Business

Hakeem sold his successful business and breathed a sigh of relief.  That is when the panic sweats kicked in.

Let us back up.  Hakeem is 59 years old.  He immigrated to Canada in the 80s to escape unsafe conditions in his country and to provide a safe home for his family.  He immediately started a business.  When that business struggled, he started another business.  And then another.  With the third Hakeem, found great success.  He built it up and while there were many difficult days along the way, he ended up building a truly successful enterprise.  Two years ago, he accepted an offer from his largest competitor to buy the business.

Hakeem spent the last two years working through the logistics of the transaction with his professional team of lawyers, accountant and financial advisor.  He also worked to ensure the smooth transition of the business to the new management team.  He ensured his staff was well taken care of and would receive a minimum guaranteed continuation of employment.  And today, the final tranche of the purchase payment landed in his bank account.

He is confident the legacy he built in his business will live on and that his clients will be well served under the new merged company.

Hakeem has made more money than he ever thought possible.  He is sitting in his home office listening to a podcast on mindfulness – breathing that deep sigh of relief.  Training himself to be present and relaxed.  But then he inadvertently glances at his desk where a large pile of paper historically occupied a now empty tray.  He moves his mouse and his monitor flickers on.  He received two emails in the last hour: a promotional one from Best Buy and a joke from a friend.  Instead of maintaining his newly trained sense of calm, Hakeem starts to stress.  He starts to sweat and wonders what has happened to him.

Hakeem is not alone.  The scariest day of many business owners is when they sell their business.

This seems counterintuitive, as Hakeem, like every other business owner, undertook a lot of risk in starting his three businesses.  There were many rainy days, stormy days, in fact, that threatened not only the success of each business but the personal assets the family had built up as well.  And while this certainly stressed Hakeem, he did not feel frightened.  He knew that no matter what, he could always rely on his grit, hard work and perseverance to push through.  To start again if necessary.  Hakeem was in control; he held the reins of the business and could adjust the direction no matter what stood in front of him or whipped at him from an unexpected side. 

Yet, sitting in his office today, Hakeem felt worried in a way he was not used to.  In fact, he felt scared.  The sale of his business had left a void.  He went from being very busy to learning mindfulness.  He had a massive amount of wealth but did not know what to do with it and who to trust with it.

Hakeem pulled out a notebook and weighed his options.  He wrote down the following:

Buy another business – not sure I have the energy…

Buy properties – definitely an option and I should start looking.

Invest in other businesses – could do, but do I look at public companies or private companies? – it is tough to trust other entrepreneurs when I am not at the helm. 

Lend to people looking for money.

Stay in cash – inflation will eat away at my gains.

Gift some funds to the kids…  I could help them with their mortgages but don’t want them to get too much just yet.

Hakeem looked at his list and realized that he was going to start trusting others to help manage his wealth. 

Business owners like Hakeem have often single-handedly driven their success until the day they sell.  Then, they are faced with having less control which can be truly daunting for many. In order to reduce this anxiety, it can be helpful to find some great partners to help manage affairs and put a longer-term plan in place.

If Hakeem’s story feels familiar, we can help you create your custom plan.  At Tall Oak Private Wealth, we work closely with business owners and understand the challenges they face.  We have years of experience assisting owners like Hakeem in ensuring they can transition successfully when selling their business.  We understand that everyone has a truly unique perspective and post-sale needs.  We work to ensure that our clients are provided with strong independent advice on how to best preserve and grow their hard-earned wealth. 

If you are contemplating the sale of a business and want to learn more about how we can help, please click here.

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