You might have noticed that it’s been a few weeks since we’ve dropped a podcast. It’s the first time in nearly 8 years of recording Dirty Secrets of Small Business that we’ve missed a week. We have some sad news to report. My business partner of over 20 years in Maximum Value Partners, and my co-host for nearly 8 years on Dirty Secrets of Small business has passed away.
One of the great things about buying vs. starting a company is that when you buy a business you have some history and some things established. Things like customers, vendors, and employees. When starting out you have to build everything from scratch. As you might imagine, when you’re building something from scratch it’s easy to put your stamp on the company. But how do you do that with a company you just bought? What if it’s one your family started? How do you honor what they’ve built but still put your own stamp on the company?
Today we were joined on the show by business owner Ben Ihde of Wild Birds Unlimited. Ben was a coaching client of MVP for several years and is a repeat guest on Dirty Secrets of Small Business (see link below for his February 14, 2019 appearance). During the show today Ben shared with us what’s been going on since we last heard from him.
Can’t I just say it! Why can’t I just tell them how I feel? These and many other thoughts have likely gone through your head at some point. Perhaps you are frustrated or feeling some pressure and you’re just about to burst! Take a deep breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Take another one and take a step back from the situation. Should you say what you’re thinking or should you bite your tongue and look for a better time and situation to make your point?Perhaps after you’ve had the chance to calm down a bit.
Have you ever not liked going to work because of the people you work with? Perhaps there is tension at work between you and a colleague where you just can’t get along on a regular basis. Maybe you disagree on the direction of the company or it could simply be you don’t like how they do certain things. What do you do when this person is related to you? What do you do if this person you can’t work with any more is your brother?
So what does it look like when you’re ready? Does it always look and feel the same? Kind of like when you’re lost? In today’s show we talk about how to know when the next generation is ready to take over. Like many things in life and business, it’s not always so clear, but there are some key things you can look for.
One of the areas we specialize in for our business coaching is helping family businesses transition to the next generation. One of the biggest gating items for a transition of any business, is the current owner deciding when it’s time to hang things up and move on to the next phase of their life. Sometimes the current owner is the last person to realize it’s time for them to move on. Why is this the case and how can that process be accelerated?
Many folks are confused why business owners have trouble stepping back and selling or transitioning their business to the next generation of ownership. We have found in our decades of working with small business owners transitioning to the next phase in their life that one of the biggest items holding them back from exiting their business is finding ways to stay relevant.
It’s rare that a small business owner wakes up one morning and decides it’s time to transition their business to the next generation. It’s something they usually think about for a while, likely many years before they are finally ready. But once they decide they often want it to happen yesterday. But before the current owner leaves they want to make sure the next generation knows everything they need to know about the business. So how do you figure out where to start?