It took a little longer than desired, but we finally closed on the business sale late this afternoon. After ten years as a successful small business owner, I am now no longer a small business owner. I'm now a guy who sold his small business, or at least a guy who sold his majority ownership in his small business.
I don't know if it's sunk in yet, but I'm sure it will sink in as soon as I don't get a quarterly distribution check. In the meantime, these nice, big six-figure checks will have to do.
I don't have too much to say about the closing ... if you've been through the process of buying or selling a home, the process seems painfully familiar. I basically agreed to sell my business to my business partners nearly three weeks ago, and we had to wait to have the lawyers catch up to us, and then sign all their legal documents today. In a couple of the documents they copied and pasted the terms of our agreement, and everything else seemed very boilerplate.
Since everyone was paying cash at closing time our papers were probably easier than most business deals, so we just signed a whole lot of legal documents, I was handed individual checks from each of the partners who were buying my shares, and it was over. I can see where this would be a lot more complicated if there were payments over time, or if I had officially agreed to stay for a period of time (twelve, eighteen months, or more), but since we didn't have those things it all felt very simple, if not lengthy.
At the end of the meeting I shook hands with all the lawyers and my former business partners (and new bosses). The partners went out to celebrate, and I went out, bought a bottle of champagne and two nice cigars, and celebrated quietly by myself in a small park near my apartment, joined by a neighbor temporarily who asked what I was doing.
After smoking just one of the cigars, I went inside and began packing like crazy. "It's finally over", I thought, and I'm ready to move on. I think the painful part will now be waiting here until April 30th, if I last that long.
But first things first, I promised the partners I'd be there to tell all the employees what just happened, and I'd also be there to meet with some of our key customers to personally let them know I had sold my business to my business partners, and that I'd be leaving town.