‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

The Emotional Impact of Selling Your Business

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: The Emotional Impact of Selling Your Business


It is almost Christmas, and with that comes an abundance of Christmas specials on tv, carols sung around the neighborhood, and classic Christmas stories read aloud in front of the decorated Christmas tree. 

This year, we have a new story to add to the mix. Colleen Kowalski reimagined the classic 1823 poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas, with a fun exit planning twist.

Sit back, grab a steaming cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy.

Twas the Night Before Selling. 

‘Twas the night before selling, and all through the business
Not a creature was stirring, not a sound in my office.
The files were laid on the desk with great care,
In hopes that the buyer would soon too be there.

The employees were restless, shaking in their boots,
With the fear of new ownership in crisply pressed suits.
And my advisor in her glasses, and myself as well,
Had just asked myself, “Why did I decide to sell?”

When out in the hallway, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
I ran through the hall to see a commotion,
Not prepared to be met with such an emotion.

The team stood there laughing their faces full of glee
The only crestfallen person happened to be me
When to my wondering eyes should appear,
The memories of my past and visions of the future grew near.

I started the business when young, lively, and slick,
It all of the sudden would be gone oh so quick
Much sooner than I thought I would choose to exit,
But the plan was in place, and there was no time to edit.

My CPA, my Financial Advisor, my Attorney, my wife!
All board members, all leaders, all trusted people in my life!
They all helped me out on this path toward the future,  
Though now that it’s here, I feel in a stupor. 

What will I do with my days out of work?
How will I ensure responsibilities I won’t shirk?
Am I really ready to leave my business behind?
Or am I heading into my post-business future blind?

Just then, I had hoped to be met with the vision
Of what I would do now with such a great passion.
Now that my time in the business has passed,
I wonder if all my goals are stuck in the past.

I walked across the office and looked at the memories
Of years gone by and hoped time would simply freeze.
Photos of myself as a young man lined the wall
Including the small garage workshop that started it all.

My eyes – how they twinkled! My smile how cheery!
Each photo I passed made me grow weary. 
The history of my company laid out before me,
That aching feeling appeared, was this the end of my story?

All of a sudden my door flew wide open,
I turned my head round as a soft word was spoken.
My wife stood before asking if I was ready for home,
Saying, “Think of all the places we’ll roam.”

On her face was a look, of pure excitement and glee,
For she was thrilled to have more time now to spend with me.
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

She spoke not a word, but pulled me from the work,
And I knew then and there, as we strolled past the clerk.
I would miss my business, that of course was true,
But my post-business life was here, and I was enjoying the view. 

I walked down the hall, for one last time,
Passing my employees, all still in their prime.
Just as I left, the new owner appeared,
And what would you know, he had a red hat and a beard!

Happy Holidays from all of us at Exit Planning Institute! We hope your holidays are filled with happiness, relaxation, and great memories! 


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