Selling Your Business: Personal Attachment Syndrome

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I wanted to write an article about a problem some business sellers face. This is a very real, and hard to accept fact that many company owners face when getting ready to sell their business; I call it Personal Attachment Syndrome, or PAS. PAS is where a business owner is wanting or needing to sell, but they have a personal and emotional attachment to their company. This could be for various reasons: company was a startup, owner invested many years/time/money into the company, it was a family business, and many more. This mindset has set in for people at all levels in the business world at some time or another. I myself have had PAS, most notably in my startups. After all, it was my time and effort, as well as money, put into these organizations. The problem with PAS is not the attachment, but what happens when we allow the attachment to affect the inevitable.

The first step is recognizing you have PAS to your company or even ideas. You should define the whys and hows of it, and set yourself up to accept it. When I started Azureient Corporation, I was focused on my passion of real estate, but I already had a real estate company. This was my passion, but not my focus . So I changed direction and we moved towards a holding company model. If I stuck with my PAS, we would just be another real estate company, not one driven by factors outside myself. This same concept applies to your emotional investment into a company. You as the owner can get set into ways and blinded by valuing your emotional attachment in selling your company, rather than its actual value.

The second step is overcoming the attachment. This doesn’t mean to start turning into that grumpy boss (I mean, unless you were one to start with) and detaching yourself from the company. Employees recognize these changes and it can lead to poor productivity and overall company health. Overcoming PAS means you need to take away the personal and emotional feelings out of the picture when it comes time to sell and negotiate. It also means that you still provide the same commitment and dedication to the company and employees, even when looking at why you need or want to sell. This step is where most people get caught up. I will give you an example of how I overcame my PAS to Mashiyu Games. In its early stages, it was about what I wanted, not really my end users. When I sold the division to Haakeng Solutions, that all changed. Today they have 5 mobile app games released, which normally are not my ideal games, but it was about the end user, not me. So Mashiyu Games is growing because I made my peace with my PAS to it and have stepped away to let others come in and take off.

The last step is acceptance. Recognize the problem, overcome the problem, and accept the end results. Pretty straightforward, but hard to take in. Acceptance is not giving up, but looking at the other side to see your true value and direction in your company disposition. You may be one of the lucky ones and find that all cash buyer. For many, this is not the reality. Never give up, but don’t let your PAS get in the way of being able to sell and move on to your next chapter in life. History is meant to be learned from, not lived.