When you have a store that’s totally tailored to the owner’s vision – as was ours – it makes selling the business unbelievably hard. It’s our life’s work, after all.
But it must be taken care of!
And then there was a moment when my husband suddenly fell ill, and all I could think was “We really have to do it now. What if something happens to him? Then it’ll be too late.” And that was when I decided that it must be taken care of, by whatever means.
But we’re neither brokers nor agents.
So, we thought a long time about the process and who to speak to about a sale. We asked acquaintances that had also sold their business and they recommended sonntag. It was a great decision to work with them. We avoided dealing with big banks and corporations and instead worked with individuals – real people we could call directly.
Today, we’re on a first name basis. It’s cool that we can call anytime to spontaneously discuss any given topic. After all, a lot of things went through our minds – not least of all the aftermath, and what would happen then.
The initial lull.
When we started the process, no one really took the bait. As a result, morale was quite low.
“Oh dear, how will we solve this?” Enter sonntag with an extensive list of potential buyers that they had already contacted – a real relief.
This is our life’s work.
I thought it was important to identify a buyer who is on par. Someone we get along with, can connect with and that knows the business. We didn’t want to sell to someone who was only out to make profit. We were keen to work with a buyer that would adopt our staff and keep our company spirit, traditions and activities alive. I think we managed to find some common ground in the end.
It was the right decision!
At the end of the day we had to admit: we managed to get good money for the company. The sales price is often subjective and really depends on the connection the buyer feels to the business. How much is the company worth to them? Only someone that has experience within the relevant market or segment can gage the true value of a business like that. Now that the process is over, I can proudly say that we managed to find the right buyer. They understand the business and are doing a fabulous job.
Now, after the sale, we went on a 14-day vacation for the first time in 25 years. That just wasn’t possible before. We couldn’t get away from the ringing phones and our guilty consciences. We’d ask ourselves time and again whether it wouldn’t be better if we were there. Learning to let go has helped me tremendously. I now go to work in the morning without feeling queasy or overwhelmed. I regained my quality of life.
Time for us.
What’s great now is that we can take our time. We can enjoy working in the garden without having to think, “I don’t have time, I have to hurry up!” We have the luxury of completely immersing ourselves into the things we like to do. That’s just great.