We told the employees last Thursday about the sale, and it generally didn't seem like a huge deal. We have fourteen full-time employees and four contractors right now, and because there isn't a big change in regime, and because I'm rarely at the office anyway, I just don't think it's a big change for most of the employees.
Because I work with the employees in the field much more, they seemed to react much more, but in the end it was all well-wishes, "let's keep in touch", and so on.
This week we held several meetings with customers, and in their own way they were more emotional for me than meeting with the employees. I've worked at all of their offices, and these clients and all of their employees have almost always been so nice to me, I felt like I had been their guest, and it was now time to leave. Plus, many of these customers had been with me since the beginning, so there's another emotional tie there of thinking these people helped make me/us the success we have become.
Sadness? No “successor”
Not to make this sound too much like the old television series Cheers, but last night I went to my favorite local pub, and shared the news with the people there who didn't already know what was going on. I bought margaritas and beer for everyone I knew there, and a few other well-wishers I didn't know.
The most interesting moment came when a friend asked if I felt like I had groomed a "successor", someone who I really felt comfortable selling my business to. I thought for a few moments, and shared the honest truth: Yes, I do feel like they'll be just fine without me, but no, I don't feel like I'm leaving the business to a "successor", to someone I've personally chosen to run the business the way I'd like to see it run.
They brought back the thought that all through the years I thought I'd eventually run into that one person who felt like a brother in all of this, a kindred spirit ... but that person never materialized. I did sell my business to a group of people who had been my business partners, but I didn't sell it to "The One"; this isn't The Matrix, and there was no Neo.