Post Sale Support: How to help your successor

| August 24, 2015

Post Sale Support: How to help your successor

Whether is because you want to retire, or because you want to explore new avenues, sometimes you sell your carefully built business to a new, bright-eyed entrepreneur. This can be a harrowing process. When you build something from scratch, you’re attached to it and you want to see it prosper.

It’s a waste for a carefully planned and cultivated business to fail after it changes hands. There are ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen. You can offer your help and advice to ensure that your successor gains a strong foothold in your business.

1 Be Prepared to Cede Control

Before you even offer your help, make sure you’re willing to give up control of the business. Once the sale is done and the relevant documents are signed, the business is no longer yours. That means, you need to let go and let your successor find his or her own way and learn the ropes.

2 Have an Honest Discussion

It is vital to have a clear discussion with your successor before you move further. Start this discussion early in your transaction. In fact, before you sign over your business, have a chat with them about the first few months of business operation. Be clear from the beginning that you don’t have any intention of managing the business for them.

Some entrepreneurs wouldn’t have you hovering about, interfering in how they run their business. However, if you need to watch over your business until you’re completely confident it’ll survive in someone else’s care, you need to start negotiating for it early.

3 Set a Timeline

You can’t cling to the business forever. At some point, you have to let it go. It’s best to establish a clear contract regarding post sale consultation. Specify the amount of time you’re willing to invest and pen down a limit. For example, some entrepreneurs will offer 3 months of post sale consultation, while others might offer a year.

The time depends on individual preferences but it’s important to establish the end of your relationship. If you don’t, it can lead to confusion and disruption. It might also hamper your successor’s ability to establish himself as the new owner.

4 Lines of Communication

When your business changes hands, the lines of communication need to change as well. Even if you’re consulting, you’re no longer the owner and the boss. In this case, your former employees should direct all questions and reports on the business’ day-to-day operations to the new owner. That way, you successor can start to establish rapport with your former employees.

It’s important that your former employees see a clear shift in authority. You should let them know that you’re no longer responsible for the business operations and are only there to help the new owner adjust.

5 Communicate with External Factors

Your clients, customers, suppliers, and associates might not handle the change well. It would take some time for them to completely trust your successor. You need to promote him, introduce him to your the regular clients, suppliers, and even your employees. In essence, you need to market him personally.

If you follow these steps, your business would change hands seamlessly, without incurring much damage.