Selling a business is not just about finding a buyer and closing a deal.  It’s about finding the right person to carry on the previous owner’s legacy.  This was the goal of Ed and Mary Antonowicz when they sold their successful home care business in 2015. They didn’t want to just hand the company to any buyer that came along.

“When you’re an owner of a business -- this is your baby. This is your child. It’s living and breathing 24/7,” said Ed as he explained why finding the right individual who had the “tool set, emotional set and commitment” to continue what they had started was important.

Shared Passion Turned into a Successful Business

In 2003, Ed and Mary bought a ComForCare franchise in Scottsdale, Arizona. ComForCare is one of the leading home care franchise companies in the US. As an occupational therapist, Mary knew that the business was a perfect fit for her. In 2006, ComForCare Scottsdale won a ‘Franchise of the Year’ award.  

Mary managed the business on her own until Ed joined her in running the company full time in 2009. Ed was from the IT industry, but he had a sales background that enabled him to bring the company to new heights. 

“I went out and I started doing community marketing and building strategic alliances.” With Ed on board and with the couple’s shared passion for providing quality care, they received another ‘Franchise of the Year’ award in 2009.  

Ed attributed their success to the company’s organic growth, which was grounded on strong business ethics and values.  Just like most owners of health care franchises, Ed and Mary’s personal experiences dealing with other home health agencies prompted them to venture into the home care industry and to make sure that their own franchise would be a success. So, how did they do this? 

On Deal Talk, Ed revealed the secret to their success: “Do the right thing and treat your clients and customers as you want to be treated.” 

How to Successfully Sell a Business

Selling a business that Ed and Mary worked hard for and built for over a decade was more challenging than they initially thought it was. Through their journey, Ed realized that moving to another page in their life required teamwork, persistence, trust and commitment.

Be prepared to work with a team. Selling a business demands teamwork. Seeking help from professionals including an accountant and a business broker is essential. Ed advised, “You should sit down with them, do your homework and do your due diligence to make sure you make the right choice.”

Related Podcast: How I Sold My Business – Matt Wakelin

Be persistent.  Find an advisor you can fully trust. Selling a business requires trust and persistence. Because the couple treated their business as their “baby,” they wanted to seek advice only from their trusted experts. In terms of stress level, Ed considered selling a business the most difficult thing for business sellers like him and his wife, so they wanted to reduce stress by working only with the people they liked and those that they trusted.  

“Morgan & Westfield actually sat with us and said, ‘You know what — it is going to be stressful, but we have a template, we got a process, we have a system — and by working together we can achieve that goal, which is transitioning your business to the right individual to carry on your legacy,’ and that was the most important thing for us.”

Jacob Orosz, founder and president of Morgan & Westfield, remembered how Ed never gave up in spite of the long sales process.  “In the end, Ed’s persistence, which, unfortunately, many sellers lack, helps close the deal,” Jacob explained. 

Related Podcast:The Art of Selling a Business with Jeremy Wells

Be ready to give your 110% commitment. Without full commitment, it is impossible to sell successfully. Ed emphasized that  selling a business was not something that could be done on a part-time basis. "It’s really got to be all in — mentally and emotionally.” Having their business sold was quite tough at the beginning, but after finding the right buyer, “everything else [in the sales process] moved very quickly,” said Ed. 

Listen to the podcast with Ed Antonowicz: Selling a Business after 12 Years: How to Leave a Legacy

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