Monday 1 March 2010

Exiting your business: the bad news

You've put your heart and soul into growing, building and fighting for this business for years now. Yet you realise it is time to go - soon.

How separate are you and your business - really? If your business is a part of you, an expression of who you are in the world, almost like your flesh and blood offspring, then you are probably wondering how to let it stand on its own feet and give you back your freedom.

For years, your life has been on the line for your business. Now it is time to give space to other aspects of your life, and put some distance between you and your business. Maybe you've reached burnout stage or maybe you just know it is time to move on.

Ready to go? I've got good news and bad news for you. The bad news first:

Your business is worth less than you think, without you

You probably underestimate your own worth. And if you are going, then you are going. You can embody your value in the other people, systems and intellectual property you leave behind, but you probably underestimate the size of this task.

Your team aren't quite as good as you thought

Entrepreneurs are a notoriously optimistic bunch. You have to be, just to even contemplate starting a business! Unfortunately this also goes for most exiting entrepreneurs' assessment of their teams. I've met too many owner managers who are shocked and hurt that their top teams don't jump at the opportunity to buy them out.

Strong leaders attract followers

You are so impressed at what your team can do - but be honest, how much of this is carrying out your vision? A common pattern for entrepreneurs is only to realise how far out in front you are compared to your managers, when you want to leave. Suddenly a yawning chasm becomes visible where you thought you were building a vibrant team to take over from you.

Next: The good news about exiting your business

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