Question: “I have decided that I need to sell my insurance agency, so is it a financial or emotional decision?”
Show me the money!
If you think I am going to say it is not about money, you would be wrong. The decision to sell usually starts as a financial decision, but once the financial mechanics get worked out, the conversations typically gravitate to the emotional side of the transaction. Many of our clients have never worked for someone other than themselves. They also have friendships tied to business relationships. Our clients usually have children in the agency and want to ensure that Thanksgiving dinner with the family continues after they sell their business.
We often find ourselves in late-night conversations with our clients, discussing what life looks like after a sale. Many of us, including yours truly, get into the insurance business indirectly. We did not plan to be in the insurance business; it just happened. So, we know this can be a hard decision for more reasons than money.
I always like to hear stories about how and why agency owners ended up in the Insurance Brokerage Business. Some of our clients represent multiple generations of family businesses that have passed down through the years. But most of our clients are first-generation firms started in their homes or with a partner in their basement just trying to make a living.
“This is who I am.”
As these businesses evolve, the owners go from “This is what I do” to “This is who I am.” I always ask these business owners if they have any outside interests. Many play golf but don’t have other hobbies or interests because their lives revolve around the insurance business. The sweat equity they put into building their business, how it touches the employees working for them, and the communities they represent are why it becomes an emotional decision.
The financial leap when deciding to sell is easier to understand than the emotional roller coaster that our clients face once they enter the process of selling the business. These businesses represent years of grit. Our clients see their employees and their families grow and the communities they have been part of thriving. These businesses are the core of a community. They represent the American Spirit.
Understanding the Financial and Emotional Decision
It truly is the reason that we started Sukay & Associates. We want to provide an advisory firm that understands both the financial and operational aspects of a sale as well as understands our clients and what is important to them emotionally. Our experience helps us understand that finding the right fit, not just the best fit, is a priority when selling your business.
Our founding principle is ensuring that we always do what is in the best interest of our clients, no matter how that affects us. It has worked from the first deal we completed in 2004 and every sale since. I am glad I found the insurance business, or it found me. I love the industry and enjoy helping our clients make difficult decisions both financially and emotionally.