Selling the business–owner obligation to train

January 11, 2010

When selling a business, most owners WANT to help the new buyer, for several reasons.  A typical Seller, whether they started the business or merely put their heart and soul into it for a couple of years, have an emotional vested interest in seeing the business do well in the future.  Add to that a financial concern in the future performance of the company and you have a highly motivated prior owner.

A well-developed sales contract includes a training period with specific parameters.

Example:  One month of training by the Seller, not to exceed 4 hours per day.  Weekend training is not a requirement.  Thereafter for a period not to exceed one year, Seller will provide periodic consultation via telephone and email.  Training should include all aspects of the business that the Seller had a responsibility to and introductions to key clients and personnel as request by the Buyer.

Some businesses require other special requirements.  A publication may require only two weeks initially, to be followed by a month at four hours per day during the first and second publishing periods.

It is equally important for the owner and buyer for some specifics to be in place in the written agreement.  She does not want to be taken advantage of and needs to get on to a new life.  It is also in the best interest of all to be a bit flexible in the execution.  Routinely things just don’t go as planned.

Further, after the sale of the business is completed, the Seller becomes the instructor and coach, but should not continue “running” the business.  After the introductions, the Buyer should be giving direction under the guidance of the Seller.

The Seller needs to recognize that it is no longer their business.  Tell the Buyer why a new concept might be wrong but then let it go.

As time goes on during the training period, increasingly it will become obvious that the Buyer is gaining control, skill, and confidence.   However, not being available on the end of the phone, three months down the road leaves the Buyer in a lurch in perhaps a unique, perplexing situation.

Find more information on this topic at: http://www.gaebler.com/Training-New-Owners-After-Selling-a-Business.htm

I wonder in the current economy, with new business owners facing a challenging economy, how many more calls are being made, post training, than in years past.

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