As the owner of your practice, you know the ins and outs of your business. However, unless the new buyer of your practice came from within, they won't know where to look even for the simplest bits of information. This is why most sellers choose to stay on for some period of time after the sale of their practice is completed. Deciding to stay on board is an important part of your exit strategy that you should consider in advance.
More than likely, when you sell your business you want it to continue to live on as a legacy of everything you built. Sure, it will grow and change with time, but you need to equip the new owners with the best possible chance of succeeding once they take over. After you've closed the sale, you will likely need to spend some time training the new owner on all the finer details of running the practice. Your continued presence is a stabilizing factor that will help the business thrive through the transition.
Naturally, there will a tremendous number of questions for you to answer in those first months. This leaves you two options: staying on longer to continue training or making yourself available as a consultant. Consulting is a great way to help the new owner long term without putting too much of a burden on yourself. Many sales contracts include a six month phone consultancy period during which the owner can call you for further guidance. Beyond that timeframe, you should consider setting an hourly rate for ongoing consulting if the owner needs more help. This will protect you from running the business without the benefits of being the owner.
Easing the Transition
Both training and consulting are important to the sale of any practice. Your ongoing commitment to the business will give buyers confidence in the future of the practice, and show them that you are serious. It will also help allay fears among employees who may be worried about what new ownership means for them. Unless you are in dire circumstances that require getting out of the business immediately, you should plan to spend the first year post-sale working with the new owner to manage the transition successfully. In fact, some buyers may walk away from a purchase unless you are willing to stay on for a period of time to provide training and consulting.
There are many benefits to staying on board for a short period of time following the sale of your practice. The more training and consulting you can offer the new owner, the better your business is likely to fare after you've retired.