There is a world of difference between being a successful employee of a large corporation and the successful owner of a business that was started from scratch. If you are one of the latter, you know just how much work you had to put into it, with all those sleepless nights, the long days of work trying to get those first clients interested in your products or services and the uncertainty of the first years of business. These are things that all entrepreneurs remember as they gain more success. Inevitably, there comes a time when they need to find someone who will take over the business. In many cases, their children aren’t interested in the company or aren’t capable of running the business, so their only option is to sell their business. Some of them decide to maintain an ownership or leadership role — remaining as Chair of the board, or Chief Operations Officer, but at some point, they recognize that the key to financing the rest of their lives lies in selling the business and collecting enough profit to live the rest of their lives without worry.
This whole decision making process can be a very disorienting experience for owners because their business basically became part of their essence, their identity. At some point it ceased just being a way to make a living. Everything that they have achieved, the things they own and the experiences they’ve had are all linked to this company they built from the ground up. When they decide to sell it, it is like going through a grieving process that is similar to the loss of a loved one. The only difference is that they are relieved of all the hard work and the feeling of always having some responsibility.