What Should You Know About Stress As You Sell Your Business?

Part of the reason for preparing your business for sale is stress management or stress reduction. The underlying theme of this website is selling a business without stress. There will be very few looking forward to feeling that stress.

In an effort to provide an understanding about stress and how it relates to selling a business, expert advice was sought. The expert consulted was Dr. Paul J. Rosch, MD, FACP. In addition to being a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the New York Medical College, he is also President of The American Institute Of Stress , and Honorary Vice President of the International Stress Management Association.

In order to get the ball rolling, Dr. Rosch was sent several questions related to stress and the process of selling a business. He answered the questions. The questions and answers will appear shortly in their entirety. This method has some shortcomings in that the quality and amount of information elicited this way is directly related to the quality of the questions. Particularly as Dr. Rosch is a clinician and has little or no experience in selling a business. He couldn't make up better questions and then answer them.

The following are the questions and the associated answers. Go through them, and think about them as they relate to your own situation. See what conclusions you form.

1. How would you rate the stress level associated with a business owner selling a business? Explain.

Impossible to answer since stress is different for each of us. Things like a steep roller coaster ride that is terrifying for some can be highly pleasurable for others. Similarly, one seller might be a small business owner who worked hard all his life to establish a reputation and successful operation. He is now forced to sell it at a loss and is also concerned about the fate of employees who are close friends he has worked with for years. Cannot compare him with the owner of a large business with hundreds of employees at different sites, the vast majority of whom he has never met. Now has a buyout offer that will return a large profit and provide lifelong security.

2. What symptoms of stress should a business owner watch for as he enters the process of selling a business?

We all respond to stress differently. Some people blush, others grow pale, become anxious, depressed, have GI or skin complaints etc. Have attached a list of 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress and a diagram of how stress affects the body that may be helpful

3. What causes the stress that affects a business owner in selling a business?

Different strokes for different folks – could be financial loss, concern over future of employees or anything that diminishes your sense of control over the event.

4. Explain the difference between stress management and stress reduction, if any? And help me understand where each will be needed in selling a business?

There is no essential difference although stress management implies that attempts will be made to develop skills to avoid or prevent stress as opposed to simply attempting to reduce its harmful emotional and physical effects.

5. What techniques or methods of stress management will likely be most effective for an owner selling a business?

Just as stress is different for each of us, no stress reduction technique or strategy works for everyone. Jogging, yoga, meditation, listening to music, engaging in some hobby are great for some, but prove dull, boring and stressful when arbitrarily imposed on others. You have to find a technique that you will continue to adhere to because you enjoy practicing it. Developing strong social support is a powerful stress buster.

6. What stress reduction methods are likely to be most effective and efficient for a business owner selling a business?

See above answer. Probably the most effective way to reduce stress is through heart rate variability feedback that allows users to gain the same benefits in a week or two that can take months or years for experienced meditators to achieve.

7. What other questions should I have asked about stress and an owner selling a business? And what are the answers?

There are no answers to any of the above questions that would be specific for a business owner. I have attached a list of Ten Crucial Tips on how to deal with stress that may be helpful.

One particular answer, to question 3. was very enlightening. "Anything that diminishes your sense of control over the event." When doing anything for the very first time, you are unlikely to have a sense of control over the event. That is the reason for using systematic advanced preparation, to ready a business for sale.

Systematic advanced preparation will enhance your sense of control over selling your business. You will have removed some contributors to uncertainty. Concurrently removing contributors to stress.

One interpretation of the answer to question 4 concerning the difference between stress management and stress reduction is that it depends on when you take the action. If you take the action as a preventative measure, you might call it stress management. If you take it after an onset of extreme stress, you might call it stress reduction.

The interview provided you with an extensive list of things you can do to manage or reduce stress. It seems that it boils down to a matter of personal choice. Some may be more effective than others, but it comes down to what you will do. Nothing will work if you don't do it.

I don't necessarily agree with one underlying premise about stress reduction or stress management mentioned above. My belief is that you as a business owner have sufficient discipline to figure out what works best and quickest, and do it because it works best and quickest. If one technique takes 45 minutes per day, and another takes 20 minutes per day, and you get the same basic result, you might choose to do the one consuming less time. Just a thought.

Reference was made in the answers given to three pdf documents. One of the documents was 50 Common Signs and symptoms of stress, another was Stress Effects , a diagram of how stress impacts the body, and another Ten Crucial Points about stress.

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