What stops you from creating a vision of your ideal exit from your business? Finances? Time? Fear of aging? Too young to retire? Fear of dying? Most business owners don’t have an exit strategy or family succession plan. Seriously.
As a transitions coach, it’s hard to reconcile the idea of a successful business owner choosing to ignore one of the most stressful transitions in the life of their business and family- when the business goes on without it’s owner/founder.
This is especially hard because we know that this business owner has chosen to lead personal lives, families, communities, and businesses with integrity. At no point during that person’s life would others say that that person abdicated their responsibilities. Yet, they do abdicate those responsibilities in a sudden, unexpected, unplanned for, exit.
Money, time, energy, fear of growing up- those are the kinds of obstacles that show up whenever you have a big change on the horizon. Those obstacles showed up and got in your way when you decided on college (or not), or bought your first house (or not), or started your company. How much have they you cost in time, money, and opportunity?
For you, the best idea may be to take things in small, doable, action steps. Maybe the answer is to take a few minutes over the next month and let yourself dream, think, and imagine, using those mental obstacles as mileposts that you watch out for and work around.
Let’s turn that vision into something that you can execute on every quarter. For this first quarter decide that your first action is to answer these questions:
Assess your ideal retirement. Write down each detail: place, time, how you spend your time, the amount you need to feel relaxed about finances….
Asses the vision:
This vision will help me to________
This vision will help these people_________
The best part about this vision is___________
Identify those negative voices- gremlins, assumptions, interpretations, and limiting beliefs that come up as you bring this vision into the light of your awareness. How true are those thoughts?
What steps can you take to overcome each negative thought?
How will hiding or avoiding this exercise serve you? Your family? Your business?
Come up with a list of “must have’s” for this vision to work.
Let’s look at alignment. Do your musts, your vision, and your values align? Why or why not?
Assess the vision again.
How many of the misalignments are due to another person’s beliefs about the plan leaking into, and over, your beliefs?
How many are due to fear?
How many aspects of this vision are exciting to you?
This series of questions can be a great jumping off point for you, your family and your team to process.
I’ve had clients who couldn’t imagine their business continuing on without them. Our brains can interpret this exercise as a threat to our well-being and identities. Okay, this can be your work around- use this knowledge to motivate you to do just that- imagine your desired, very best outcomes.
If you cannot bring yourself to go there, here is a bit of additional motivation. Take a look at this article from HBR, “Siblings and Succession in Family Business”. And, you can always call me: 804.372.7575. We can set up a time to get to know each other a bit, determine if a coach could be of help, and get started- one action item at a time.