You’ve gotten used to being in charge for as long as you can remember, answering questions, handling problems as they arise, and celebrating the successes of your business. When it’s finally time to step away, you won’t be doing any of those things anymore. In all honesty, you’ll become less important to the business and your industry, except perhaps in a legacy role. This can be extremely difficult to deal with. So what can you do to help ease into this new role and new life? Devote some serious time to figuring out what you want to do after you transfer out of your business.
While this step is often overlooked, it can help to prevent seller’s remorse and many of other issues that may arise. After all, it takes time to separate your identity from your role in the business. Gradually spending more time away from the business and planning for this transition can provide you with the time and space you need to envision yourself without your business.
Steps you can take to avoid these regrets and disappointments:
- Be properly prepared for the eventual transition. Identify your goals and objectives.
- Allow sufficient time to work on your post-transition life plan, usually 3‒5 years.
- Know your transition options and the pros and cons of each.
- Be proactive; don’t procrastinate.
- Think about what you want to do after the transition.
- Document the goals for each area of your life.
- Identify your fears, concerns, and other barriers and address them early.
- Outline your criteria for a successful ownership transition.
While it may be difficult to see right now, you are more than just your business and you should consider each of the multiple facets of your life as you architect your transition plan.
It takes a good amount of time for owners to separate their identity from their businesses, and they need to plan for the best way to extricate themselves and plan for the next phase of life. Leaving your business truly is a process and not a discrete event, and it can affect aspects of your life – personal, financial, and business. Planning for your exit from your business can help provide you with the time and space you may need to envision yourself without your business.
Remember, business transitions are emotional events, even for those who are not usually emotional. Preparation allows you to envision your life beyond the company and improves your chances for a positive outcome.