When entrepreneurs start their business, they generally start by doing things they are good at or things they are passionate about. It’s this passion that provides the energy for people who are about to embark on this journey.
Over time owners learn a lot about themselves and their business – they develop habits that work for them – and although those habits are valuable practices that have proven to work very well in the early stages of a business, they aren’t necessarily what they should be doing when transitioning or exiting their business.
In fact those habits can be the very things that now stand in the way of owners being able to exit the business. The habits have instead become the seven deadly sins of transitioning.
So how can you, as a business owner, change your approach?
1. Think small, to reach big
When preparing for transition, focus your leadership team on small objectives that will enable them to build up recognizable wins. Gradually make those objectives bigger and bigger so that the wins will ultimately take the company to great heights because they were driven and supported by the individuals who developed them.
2. Innovate, Create, and Educate (ICE)
Allow your leadership team to build an innovation process within the company by working on a specific initiative as determined by you. You must force yourself to allow the process to take its course and allow it to wander when necessary. Of course, if you can tell that it is going nowhere, bring it back on track. Review the outcome with the team and apply the learning to the next innovation opportunity.
3. Think About Change
Change will be a constant both in businesses and in life. Consider what possible changes could occur in the next 3-5 years – you can do that by looking at what the world was like five years ago. Then, plan for those changes and how they could affect your business.
4. Train Your Successors
As much as you need to pay attention to the needs and desires of your customers while planning a business transition, your successors should be your priority. Set up a shadowing program that will expose them to customer needs and prepare them for the task ahead.
5. Expect to Fail
Accept that failure will come. Build a failure tolerant culture in your business and work with your team to come up with ways to deal with those possible failures.
6. Run Before You Walk
Once you have built a business culture that accepts failure as a natural part of a growth process, look for ways to demonstrate how that can work in your company by getting your team to move quickly on initiatives that they may previously have avoided.
7. Ease Into the Back Seat
Get used to the idea that soon, you will no longer be in charge of your business. Increase the number of days you are not available and away from the office. Gradually ease into the back seat and allow your successors to take the reins.
At BTA, we understand the challenges of owning a business. As business owners ourselves, we are always looking for the best solutions to assist you, your customers, your successors, and your employees. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you want to learn more about the Seven Deadly Sins, you can check out our series!
We are business owners and advisors that offer consulting services to entrepreneurs. Working hands-on, we help develop and implement effective strategies that increase business value, growth and profitability, to prepare for the future.