Selling A Business

Why Many Business Owners Stick Around Post-Sell

Launching, running and owning a business is more than just an entrepreneurial venture. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that requires unlimited dedication and unshakeable commitment.

For this reason, it comes as no surprise that many founders want to stay attached in some way even after they have sold their business on.

Over 40% of founders want to stay at their business for up to 3 years after selling

Livingstone released a survey at the end of last year which demonstrated that a huge 75% of entrepreneurs plan to stay on after they sell their business.

The Heart of the Deal report also showed that of those founders wanting to stay involved in some way, 44% of them would like to do so for around 3 additional years.

Interestingly, this attachment was more prolific amongst the younger generation, with 90% of 16-24-year olds wanting to still be a part of the business post-sale. This was compared to only 30% in the 45-54 age bracket.

But why do entrepreneurs want to stick around so much?

Surely the prospect of no morning alarms, no never-ending emails and endless hours to spend with your feet up and a good book are enough to send any former founder packing?

Well, it seems once you’ve nurtured a business to success, you just can’t stop caring about it.

Nearly 25% of founders are concerned a new business owner won’t help the venture grow

Livingstone’s research revealed that 41% of entrepreneurs are worried that the new buyer will not look after the business adequately.

A substantial 23% aren’t confident that the new owners will be able to grow the business and 16% have concerns about the repercussions for staff.

Plus, still being involved in some way is a great way to keep busy and active when a life of leisure just doesn’t seem so appealing.

So, how can you stay involved post-sale?

There are a couple of ways this can done without disruption to new management or fresh ways of working:

Relationship handling – Helping those taking over the reins maintain and transition the customer, client and/or supplier relationships that you have built up over the years.

Mentoring and guidance – Coming into a new business is exciting, sure, but it’s pretty daunting and intimidating at the same time.

Having you there as a mentor will help shape the vision and achieve objectives through educated guidance. This is sometimes otherwise referred to as business consultancy.

All of the above can actually increase the value of the sale as your experience, skills and knowledge come part and parcel of the deal. Your close proximity to the business is a major advantage that could may well be the deal sealer for many prospective buyers.

Therefore, if you are looking to sell your business on, it’s definitely worth mentioning if you’d like to remain involved in some way, shape or form as part of your exit strategy.


Are you a former business owner who is dealing with the post-sale transition? Perhaps you’re considering selling your empire and struggling with what happens after? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation over on Twitter and Facebook.

Christopher Jones
Forensics graduate-turned copywriter and blogger. I love turning complex topics into easy to understand, yet engaging pieces of content.