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Fear – Unspoken Emotion when Starting, Buying or Selling a Business

fear in buying or selling a business

How to handle your emotions in buying or selling a business?

How much is the business worth? How much can I make if I buy that business? What is the value of the Inventory? What is the rent the business pays? What is the Revenue per Sales Channel? What can I sell my business for? What will it cost me to start a business? These are all financial question that very often get discussed during the process of buying or selling a business.

So often the perception of buying or selling a business… or starting a new business is all about the financial elements surrounding the transaction. The emotional and psychological elements in my opinion are under-served and often minimized.

I am a business broker based in Florida and in my profession I work with both buyers and sellers and can have rather intimate conversations regarding the goals and desires of these current or future business owners. I can’t pretend to always know what truly is going thru the mind of someone I represent that is buying a business or someone I represent that is selling their business. But I can speak of my experiences that I realized personally as I both bought several businesses as a business owner and also sold my business of 20 years.

The money is a very important component that cant be minimized, but the emotional side should not be minimized as well. What emotions did I experience as I personally was the buyer and seller of a business?

  • Concern,
  • Trepidation
  • Joy
  • Satisfaction
  • Worry
  • Relief
  • Uncertainty
  • Fear

Is there a book written that states these are the emotions one should realize when going thru the thought process of buying a business, selling a business or starting a business? , if so I am not aware of it. Is it okay to worry 24/7, to have some fear when making the substantial investment of buying a business? Is it okay to have a certain level fear when evaluating the decision to sell a business that you may have started and or been owning running for 10, 20, or 30 or more years. I personally think all these emotions are both acceptable and normal. I feel if there isn’t a certain level of fear then possibly the enormity of the situation may not be fully understood.

When working with business buyers and those selling a business, and also in consulting for several starting a business, I do not attempt to advise that certain emotions are right, wrong, or indifferent. My approach is to share my experiences and suggest that these emotions may be realized in the process of buying or selling a business.

I have many conversation with business owners that may want to be selling their Business. They want to sell their business but the uncertainty that is so intertwined with the process can create fear, fear can create in- action. Business owners may want to sell or exit their business, but their business is a known entity. The business owner knows what to expect with running his business-relatively. Selling ones business can create so many unknowns that uncertainty, trepidation, concern worry and fear can result in just taking the path of least resistance which may mean to just keep running your business – even though you may not want to.

But a properly analyzed and thought out approach to buying or selling a business can produce some very desired emotions like relief, joy, and satisfaction. In my opinion emotions are a big part of the process of buying or selling a business. But you should not let your emotions get in the way of pursuing your desired goals.

About author

Scott Messinger
Scott Messinger 77 posts

Scott M. Messinger is a former and current business owner that has directly purchased multiple businesses to support organic growth. Former owner of successful production/manufacturing/distribution business of 20 years that was successfully sold and transitioned. Member of Business Brokerage Solutions LLC with offices in Ft Myers and Jacksonville Florida, and member of the Business Broker of Florida Assn. Background experiences includes the fields of management,water, energy savings, marketing. For a FREE current listing of Businesses FOR sale see: | | Phone: 239.770.2421

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  • Thanks for this post Scott. I guess fear and anxiety in starting up a business are quite normal but you should always have a positive outlook to have a positive outcome.

  • Business sell Canada

    I know there are many questions arise in our mind whenever we want to sale and buy a business. Is this business is perfect for me or not? What is the actual cost of a business? May I handle it properly? Where i get many potential buyers and sellers? But with the help of business brokers and business for sale we can easily get answers of all these questions.

  • Tom Deans

    Scott this is an excellent article. Business owners who are so emotionally connected to their firms to the extent that they do nothing, ultimately leave the issue for their family to deal with. When business owners die — and they all do — and gift their operating business to family, it is remarkable how much wealth is destroyed and family relationships pulled apart. A sad legacy that can be avoided by a business owner who simply does their last deal for his or her family, not themselves.

    Tom Deans Ph.D.
    Author of Every Family’s Business