By Kristina Schmitt – I love a good story. The hero is faced with a difficult challenge, and, after much contemplation and hard work, triumphs over all the trials and succeeds. The End. My favourite stories, however, always leave me wanting to know what happens after the end of the story… the unwritten chapter. There is a parallel to this in many entrepreneurs’ stories. They set a goal to start a business, work night and day to get it off the ground, and finally, after much hard work, have the business that they want. But what happens after that? What happens in the next chapter of their story, and what about succession?
Every entrepreneur, just like every story, will have a different ending. Some will choose to sell the business they’ve built; others will choose to pass it on to a family member or trusted employee; and still others will just close the doors when they’ve had enough. All of the options are valid choices, but it’s important, in order for the business owner to be happy, that it is just that….a choice.
Starting long before the actual transition or succession of the business, much needs to be accomplished to ensure this change remains a choice.
Sometimes the best way to come to a decision like this is to start at the beginning of the story:
- Why did I start my business in the first place?
- What were my initial goals?
- Did my goals change and develop as my business grew?
Next, take a look at the current state of the business:
- Have I achieved the goals that I initially set out to achieve?
- Is my business profitable enough?
- How developed are the employees?
Finally, start looking ahead:
- What more would I like to achieve before I transition my business?
- What do I see as the future of my business? Who is best to take it there?
- What is an ideal transition for my employees? How will they need to be supported?
- What is the legacy that I want to leave the company and the people impacted by it?
These questions are just the beginning of the planning that business succession requires but understanding the story of your business will help clarify complex decisions.
What happens in the next chapter of your story?
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