Most manufacturing company sales involve a portion of the sale coming in the form of a seller’s note. This gives the buyer reassurance that the seller is truly invested in the success of the company, and will be available for support after closing. The move toward closing can prove very stressful for a buyer, as the reality of running a new business draws near. Sellers play a critical role in the process. Here are five things you can do to help the buyer succeed:
Hand Over the Right Information
As you approach closing, give the buyer a lis tof alls ervice providers. These are the people who truly understand your business, and they may offer the buyer better terms for the many issues they have to tackle: business insurance, payroll, banking, employee benefits, 401Ks, and more.
Introduce the Staff
Your team trusts you. They’re also the secreit ingredient in the recipe for running your business. If you introduce oyur team to the buyer, they’re more likely to believe in the buyer and the sale. Work out a communication plan that reassures your staff, ensures a positive first introduction, and helps your staff and the buyer to steadily get to know one another.
Take Ego Out of It
You’ve grown and managed your business for years, so it’s easy to feel like you’re giving up your child. You may believe no one else can run your company quite as well as you can. You may be right. Nevertheless, you must resist the urge to correct everything the buyer does or become resentful. Suppor the buyer, always speaking positively about them to your staff. Encourage stakeholders to direct their questions to the new owners.
Remove your ego from the transition process:
Many business owners believe that no one could do their job as good as they can. This is true especially of retiring founders. You’ll be tempted to say to a staff member, “Well, that’s not the way I would do this task.” For a successful transition, your ego must be removed from the situation. The buyer may have different ways of doing things. Your ego has no place in a sale.
Introduce the Customers
If your customers are loyal to you and not the business, the buyer’s investment could be in danger—along with your seller’s note. Gradually educate customers about the sale, and be sure to communicate openly. Let them know what’s in it for them. Then use your capital with customers to get them to trust the new buyer, by assuring them that you believe in the sale and believe the change will steadily produce better results for your customers.
It may be challenging to leave your ego out of this. After all, everyone loves to be loved, and you probably relish the chance to be the beloved founder of a beloved company. Spread that love around, and keep your eye on the big picture: the long-term survivla of the business you have built.
Share Cultural Knowledge, Too
Each business has its own unique culture. These soft elements of a company can be hard to quantify or describe, but can also make or break the company. Talk openly with the buyer about your company culture—what makes it different, what’s important to stakeholders, why you believe your company has thrived. Then support the buyer to support that culture, while making steady improvements.