No Team, No Vacation (Topic 3 of 4)

No Team, No Vacation (Topic 3 of 4)

Positano Italy View from Chiesa Nuovo

This is a short series covering 4 problems I see owners have when trying to prepare their business for exit.

When most business owners start talking about the different ways they may be able to exit their business, for instance sell off part or all of the business, and slow down or retire, the plan usually revolves around themselves and what they want.

  • How much can I get for my business?
  • What do I sell?
  • Who could I sell it to?
  • How long will it take?
  • What do I have to do to get there?

The last question is a big question and is much easier to achieve when you involve your team and change the question slightly to:

  • What do ‘we’ have to do to get there?

If you have people in your business then you have the human factor to attend with as you prepare your business for the transition you choose to make. What is the ‘human factor’ that affects change? Humans don’t generally like change. Change requires additional energy, a different focus, and more resources. Humans love change when the outcome of the change is better than their current conditions.

For instance: Think about preparing to go on vacation. There is a lot of work that goes into planning and getting to your vacation destination. Here is a short list.

  • Decide on what type of vacation you want to experience
  • Determine where you can do what you want to do
  • Research where you want to go
  • Evaluate the costs involved
  • Ensure you have the money you need (if not save up more)
  • Book the flight, the rooms, the cottage, the rentals, excursions, etc.
  • Book time off work
  • Prepare your clients, coworkers, suppliers, family, etc. for your absence
  • Determine what you will need to take with you
  • Purchase any additional items
  • Pack

This preparation takes time, money, and energy, but the desired outcome (the vacation) is worth the extra effort, above and beyond your daily workload.

Now think about the amount of work that must go into exiting your business.

  • Decide on what type of transition you are working towards
  • Evaluate what specifically needs to change
  • Identify who must make these changes
  • Evaluate the costs involved in making the changes
  • Ensure you have the money you need (if not save up more)
  • Bring in experts or buy required items need for the change
  • Begin the work.
  • Monitor and measure the change
  • Prepare your clients, employees, contractors, suppliers, family, etc. for the change
  • Determine what you will take with you
  • Pack

OK, that last point was is a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’, but the others all relate to work that must be done to get your business ready for you to exit. What happens when you don’t have your team on-board? They don’t put in the effort to reach the new destination. This means you have to do everything yourself, sometimes at odds with what your team is doing.

Here are two reasons why your team may be at odds with the change.

Not Their Vacation

They don’t see your desired outcome as a destination they what to get to. It is extra work for them, which, in itself, is a negative future outcome for them. You will have resistance in the change, which can slow the process, or stop it completely.

Not Their Work

They don’t know what work is theirs. If you are omnipotently appointing tasks as you go through your list of work, without your team knowing why they are doing the work, how it ties into the overall plan, or how it will affect their own time, they can’t be effective or efficient in their performance.

Both these reasons will affect the productivity of your business and can directly impact your bottom-line, making it even harder to exit the business.

Do This Instead

If you want your team to help with all the work that needs to be completed and ensure your business will have great value for the next owner, you need to ensure they not only see the destination as their own, but know exactly what it is they need to do to get there.

The Destination

Start by letting your team know what the desired outcome of the change you want to happen. Also let them know you are going to ask them to help design what and how this goal can be achieved. Let them look at the draft-list that needs to be completed and ask if they can help complete any of it. Find out what they perceive as challenges  and how it would affect the costs, the timing, the available resources, etc. Get them involved and get them excited for their future in the company. If you were taking them on vacation, you would want them to be excited about the destination. You want them to be able to visualize what will happen. Get them thinking about how they will spend their days.

This is a small step to ensuring successful change. Not only will it make implementing and managing the change easier, it will ensure the continued value of the future business for the team and the next owner.

The Series – 4 Topics

Read the first 2 articles of this series. Links below.
  1. Your Business Does Not Run Without You (Part 1 Article Here)
  2. Value to the Next Owner (Part 2 Article Here)
  3. No Team – No Vacation (This article)
  4. The Succession Plan – What’s Involved? (Part 4 Article Here)

Check your business’s EXIT Readiness – take this valuable assessment


This article is 100% original content – The articles you read in “Thoughts of Change” are 100% created by Barb Stuhlemmer, not by AI.

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