As business owners, many of you have not considered succession planning. You have not yet decided whether you’ll pass the business on to your children (through a sale, transfer, etc.), sell to an existing employee or employees, exit via an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan), sell to a competitor or private equity shop (or whomever will buy it!), or simply liquidate. You may have thought about it, but most of you have not taken any definitive action towards shutting down, unwinding, or selling your business. That’s okay… for now.
A Viable, Sustainable Business Provides Options
However, in order to have options in the future, you need to build a viable, sustainable business that works without you. This not only provides you with the highest possible value for your business if you do decide to sell, but also provides you with numerous additional options such as: working infrequently on or in the business, essentially operating as a Chairman of the Board; working part-time and traveling or exploring other interests and investments; or selling the majority of your business but maintaining a small ownership stake.
Work on Your Business
In order to build a sustainable, viable business that works without you, you must work on your business, not just in your business. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. This means that you must operationalize and systemize many of the things you do personally, delegate your duties to one or more employees and empower those employees to do their jobs well. But often you don’t know what you don’t know. So how can you do this? Bring in consultants and advisors? Hire a Chief Operating Officer or General Manager. Have your COO or GM handle it?
Main Focus of Continuing Education
You don’t always need to know exactly what to do, but you should have a good understanding of what is necessary. In addition, your business changes over time. Therefore, you must invest in continuing education. The main focus of continuing education is to help you be aware of what exists – in all aspects of your business – that could help you build a better, stronger, more efficient, and more profitable business.
Continuing Education Can Take Many Forms
This continuing education can take various forms, including reading, taking specific classes, pursuing certification, or even pursuing another degree or an advanced degree. Some additional continuing education sources include: classes or workshops sponsored by local colleges, universities, associations; training courses and seminars sponsored by the American Management Association, Skillpath, Fred Pryor, and other training providers; participation in business roundtables or on decision committees; and so much more, which all make you a better business owner.
In summary, educating yourself in an area in which you have a weakness can strengthen your capabilities in that area or, perhaps even better, help you more readily find someone or better manage someone working for you in that area. Remember, what you can define or describe, you can measure. Further educating yourself in an area in which you’re strong can really help you and your business blossom.