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How to Avoid Seller's Remorse in M&A


Building a business and then selling it for a heap of cash is virtually every entrepreneur's dream. But, after devoting hours every week, for likely years on end, to creating that dream, it can be a bit jarring once the deal officially closes and your business is no longer actually your business. This uncertainty may lead to seller's remorse, but it doesn't have to go that way. Here is how to avoid regretting the decision:


Doubts may creep in at various points throughout an M&A transaction, and especially once everything is said and done. There will certainly be a tremendous sense of relief, but questions about whether it was the right decision or wondering if better terms should have been sought may linger. Even though these are natural and understandable doubts, the first order of business has to be a celebration. For every company that attains this sort of success, there are countless others who fall short. Finding a buyer, but more importantly, actually closing a good sale is something to be proud of and warrants a celebratory toast or two.


This is a tough concept for company leaders accustomed to long hours day in and day out. However, if there is ever a time to take a vacation, read some novels, or just putter about, it is definitely post successful M&A. Running a business and enduring a transaction like that can be very arduous, and allowing the mind to decompress and process it all will be needed. And, relaxing does not involve nitpicking the terms of the deal, obsessing over your former company’s trajectory, or following up with the employees still working there to find out how things are going. Once the deal is done there is no going back, so the only thing in front of you should be your wide open future.

Have a Plan

There is a good chance that celebrating and relaxing will only be enjoyable for a short time. After all, anyone who manages to build such a successful business will likely get bored just lounging by a pool. Those with the skills and patience to get a business to that point will no doubt have other great ideas, and there is no reason that retirement has to mean shelving all of that potential. Instead, that creativity and those innovative ideas should be channeled when the time is right, so make a rather informal plan for when and how you will set out on your new venture.


Perhaps you do not have a ton of ideas brewing just after a deal, as the whole situation probably required a lot of energy and attention. Or, maybe you have so many ideas that you do not know where to begin. Rather than reminisce or hyperfocus on one thing, this may be the time to dabble in several different areas. It is quite possible that there are markets or individual interests that have not yet been discovered or tapped. Depending on the time and resources available, it certainly isn’t a bad idea to take a year or two to really think about where to dive into next.

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