Blood, sweat and tears; late nights and weekends spent working; sacrificed vacations and family time – indeed, a CEO’s feelings toward his or her business often mirror those a parent has for a child.
Unfortunately, when it comes time to take the next step in life, the gravity of letting their baby go can prove overwhelming. Successful business owners tend to pore over every detail in order to improve the venture; but what they often overlook is the fact that, like parents to a child, they will someday have to allow that baby to move on.
There are a number of measures owners can take to ensure the transition is smooth and they have what they need to be happy on the other side of it.
• Change is natural; learn to accept it with regard to your business. If you’re like most owners, you have invested some or most of the best years of your life, and most of your financial resources, in your business. By now, your identity and that of the business may actually be one and the same.
• Is your business transitioning “in-house”? Small businesses – those with less than 500 employees – are responsible for nearly half of the GDP and employment in the United States. Many of these are family-run enterprises; naturally, owners often want to keep it in the family, which doesn’t always work out. Often, parents want to distribute evenly to their sons and daughters, even though only one was actually active in the business. Attempts to be “fair” can cause businesses to crumble, with an absentee owner trying to call the same shots as someone who’s always there. Be honest about what will actually be good for the business and its employees.