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After I’m gone … Selling Your Small Business

from: John Loven

If you’re considering selling your business, you have a vested interest in continuing the success of the business as your participation lessens. Many factors determine how your enterprise has succeeded until now. One particularly important factor is your own personality style. Employees and customers have come to expect a certain set of behaviors: how you exercise authority, how you relate to people, how you handle changing circumstances, how much you are - or are not - willing to improvise when standard operating procedures are in question. These aspects of your personality are a powerful binding force in your corporate culture and your customer relationships. If you want your business so continue to thrive after the sale, its wise to learn ahead of time whether any of these personality factors are going to change under new leadership.

Personality Profiling of yourself, key employees, and prospective buyers can be a very valuable step in preparing to sell your business and to work yourself out of day-to-day management. Having an objective measurement of how you connect with employees and clients can help you lay the most profitable foundation for change. Reputable personality profile tools like MRA, DISC and AVA can be obtained from a number of business consulting companies

Connecting With Customers:

If your own relationships with key customers are a vital factor in continuing to do business with them, then you’ll want to know how the new owner will connect with these customers. If the new owner has a personal style that is very different from yours, you’ll want to prepare your major customers for the change, or even look for a more compatible buyer.

Connecting with your People:

Your sales people each have an individual sales style. Knowing the personality styles of high performing sales people will help prepare them for the coming change. If, for instance, consultative selling is working well for you, and if your sales staff spend lots of time talking and thinking together with the clients, you’ll want to preserve that. If sales are going well, then plainly the customers are pleased with the consultative approach. If a new owner says “cut back the talk and visits – that’s inefficient – just call ‘em once a week.”, the chances are high that you’ll lose customers and loose some good sales people too. Knowing the personality type of the new owner can help identify a winning combination.

Supporting Management:

In many small companies the owner and the employees hire each other. That is to say, the staff winds up being people who like the owner’s personality style and vice versa. The new management can make the transition much smoother with a clear picture of the personality styles of the key employees. If there are radical personality differences between the current ownership and the new owner, you should start planning a team building effort and put a lot of effort into preparing people for the change.

A significant part of the value of a small business lies in relationships. Don’t put that asset at risk when selling you business.

(c) John Loven, 2004. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long as the article and by-line are reprinted intact.
About the author:

John Loven provides personality profiling services to help businesses hire more accurately, manage careers better and secure higher employee retention. You can experience the accuracy and clear business language of MRA Team Spirit Profiling at http://www.MRATeamSpirit.com


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