One of the best things about having a small business is how much of your identity and passion you can pour into it. You’ve put your heart and soul into every step or decision and invested a significant amount of time, money, and effort. Not only that, but you’ve probably formed a lot of meaningful relationships with the people you do business with. That is why whenever there are talks of transitions or business exits, entrepreneurs feel nothing but stress. It is an emotional rollercoaster and a challenge to let go of something you have committed so much to.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”
– Eckhart Tolle
If you find yourself at the cusp of (probably) the biggest decision of your life, there is no need to put your emotions aside. At this point in your journey, it is important to acknowledge your emotions to come up with the best decision for you and your small business.
Planning ahead will help you deal with the stress of the unknown and will help you control as much of the process as you can. There’s no need to rush!
Once you process your emotions, you will be one step closer to starting a new chapter in your life. Don’t worry if you are taking small steps because they still count as progress.
But, before taking any further steps, you need to take a step back first.
Here Are A Few Tips That Might Be Helpful For You As You Navigate Through This Process:
Transitions are stressful and challenging to plan for. As you slowly go through this transition, the more emotional and stressful it can become. Some might feel fear, frustration, or sadness. These are only a few of the different thoughts and emotions a business owner goes through. But, each transition is different. Just as much as your small business is uniquely formed by your personality, work ethic, values, and commitment, so is the journey of letting go of all that. Thus, you must find your own effective list of coping mechanisms. This will help you to be more mindful of your emotional state and will make things clearer for you.
One method you can try is journaling. This strategy helps in keeping track of your progress and understanding yourself a little bit more. The goal in processing yourself emotionally is to come to terms with everything that is going on before coming up with a plan.
Another strategy is to look for a list of activities that focus on wellness. What activities help you feel energized, calm, happy, or relaxed? What helps you clear your mind? These help in dealing with the stress that comes with transitions in your business and help you to have a rational mind. Thinking only of the best strategies or plans for your business and for yourself is the best way to go.
You want to make sure that you have a specific list of coping mechanisms that can become natural for you so that you can use them effectively.
Try to find what works for you and test it out!
A helpful thing to realize is that there are people who went or are going through something similar. It gives you a sense of reassurance or comfort that you can overcome this, too. Moreover, it reminds you that you are not alone. You can learn valuable lessons that you will be able to apply to your situation.
You can also read up on different stories online and these can be your springboard for your own plans. “What similar experiences did others have?”, “What did they do after?”, and “What can I learn from them?” are some questions you want to try finding answers to.
Moreover, consulting others also makes sure that you don’t bottle anything up. Try to find a trustworthy support network that empathizes with you and your experience. This will allow you to look at your situation from different perspectives and will keep you focused.
After acknowledging the state of your small business, find the best strategy to talk about the decision with the people involved. It is important for them to hear it from you first. Sharing this kind of information helps others to plan their future, too!
As you share about your business exit, you should also be ready for some questions. Being transparent about your thought process helps others to understand it from your perspective. Changing routines and breaking habits are challenging so you have to give enough time for this.
Plan and commit
According to the BEI 2016 Business Owner Survey, 80% of respondents believe that their business exit will most likely be a result of planning. But, only 20% actually have written up a plan. Not a lot of entrepreneurs take time to write these all down until a later date.
Planning ahead is a strategy to help you with dealing with stress and emotions because of this transition. This includes planning for you and your small business when you complete your business exit.
You must challenge yourself to draft your succession plan little by little. What is the best for your business? Will you be asking someone else to take over? What are your plans for your employees?
Moreover, you should also have a plan for yourself! Letting go of the business doesn’t mean the end of the road for you. Breaking habits and routines mean creating space for new ones. Try to plan out the next month after your transition. What have you always wanted to learn or do with your time? What other goals would you like to achieve?
The important thing to remember is to plan for the things you can control and to stay focused and committed to them.
The more effort you put in preparing for this transition mentally, emotionally, and financially, the more that you take things objectively. That is, nothing will cloud your mind in deciding what is best for you and your business. Going through this fulfilling process leads to accepting your present and getting ready for your future. Acceptance leads to gratitude for all the memories and people that you met along the way. It can also excite you because of the many opportunities in store for you as soon as you make the first step.