Business succession can be a stressful process.
While some stress can be positive in the short-term, chronic negative stress leads to burnout and irreparable damage to our bodies. You will want to take steps to avoid and minimize the impact of damaging stress during the transition process in order to feel healthy and ready to take on the future.
Stress is the body’s response to a perceived threat or major challenge. The release of adrenaline and cortisol activates the body’s flight-or-flight response giving us our best chance of survival, whether we choose to stay and fight or run away.
The business succession process is full of situations that can set our body on full alert. It is a time when many difficult questions must be asked and answered, emotions can be triggered, and workload is at an all-time high.
In order to minimize the amount of negative stress you experience during the succession process, consider the following:
Start Planning Early
Many business owners wait too long to start thinking about and planning for the transition of their business and as a result decisions need to be made quickly. It can feel like there’s not enough time to do all that they previously didn’t realize needed to be done. This creates additional challenges and generates more pressure.
To minimize stress, give yourself at least five years to create and work through a succession plan. The questions will still be difficult and the workload high, but knowing you have time to make decisions, get advice, and do the work will help put your mind and body at ease.
Extra work can be handled with an additional hand or two. The right questions asked by a skilled advisor can help you create a plan that puts your mind at ease. A coach or counsellor can help you navigate the emotional aspects of the transition.
Assistance helps remove stress from many aspects of business succession. If you are hesitant about getting support, a first step might be talking to someone who will help you understand why you feel the need to go it alone and guide you toward becoming more comfortable asking for assistance.
Take Care of Yourself
We can take steps to minimize stress, but it is impossible to eliminate it completely from our lives. Taking good care of our bodies and minds helps us to best handle the stressful situations that we can’t avoid.
It becomes even more important during times of high stress to eat well, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and take breaks. This is usually when we do the exact opposite. Make self-care a part of your succession plan and get support to help hold yourself to your plan.
The business succession process is not likely to be completely stress-free, but with planning, support, and focus on your needs, you can alleviate much of the stress and move to the next stage of life feeling your best.