At some point you’ll want to slow down in your business. The 90 hour weeks that many business owners face just gets old.
Or maybe you are past all that and you want to do things in life other than run your business. Gasp!
What does it look like when you move past being the only owner of your business?
As a long-time lawyer and business consultant I can tell you some of the things you’ll need to take into account as you think about the next stage of your business when it may be time for you to slow down.
Even if you aren’t ready to slow things down, yet, knowing what might be in your future often can help.
A Lot Of Things Changes When You Aren’t The Only Owner
Many of the dynamics change when you aren’t the only owner of the business. Whether you are giving some equity to a senior leader, bringing in an outside investor or roping in the new generation of family a lot changes when you bring in another owner.
Some business owners swear they will never bring in another partner. I personally think that partnerships can be very good. Done correctly they’ll allow you to combine different skills and bring together talents in a way that should better serve your customers.
But as soon as someone owns even a small percentage of your company you owe legal duties to them in most cases. This means you have to account to them for money spent, money made and decisions made.
Suddenly your company isn’t about just you. It really takes a step to being more independent from a financial and accountability standpoint.
You’ll want to spend a lot of time negotiating your relationship with your to-be partner to make sure there are no surprises. This is a great time to bring in an expert that has done this a bunch of times for the negotiations.
Your Outlook Changes
It is very common for the outlook of owners to change as soon as a new owner is brought into the business. While it is awkward to have to answer to someone else it is also relieving in a way. No longer do you have to take responsibility for EVERYTHING.
That separation often means a disconnect. You are no longer tied to the business completely. The separation can allow you to think more broadly about life, other interests and things beyond the business.
Sharing Decision Making
Maybe the most awkward part of selling part of your business is starting to share decision making. No longer are you the only game in town. Someone else needs to be considered, or depending on your agreement, even consulted in decisions.
This can feel very awkward, unusual and inefficient. What used to happen quickly now takes phone calls and discussions.
Routine and small decisions should be discussion and put into a process or system early. For instance $50 office supply purchases can be approved automatically in most companies.
For bigger decisions a meeting and discussion process should be designed early on.
It’ll be a big transition to get used to sharing decisions but it can be done.
Giving Away Upside
Many business owners that want to step back want to keep all of the upside from the future of their business. But your new, would-be, partner will want the upside too. That’s why they are willing to do whatever you are requiring to take an ownership role.
Many business owners are defensive about this at first. They want to step back but not lose all of the future growth of the business. But it simply doesn’t work like that.
If you are going to get a new participant in your business that is going to put in the time, effort and risk they are going to want to be in on the upside. So take some time and think about what’s in it for them.
You can also spend a little time thinking about what’s in it for you. Which leads us to our next point.
New Energy And Connections
Often when you bring in a new partner or investor they bring with them new energy for the business and their connections. But of these can have significant upside for the business.
The new eyes and ways of thinking can spot opportunities for the business. Maybe they see something you’ve missed or they find a new efficiency.
Meanwhile the new connections may mean significant things for you and the business too. Maybe the next great customer is sitting in their contacts on LinkedIn!
Balancing It All
And there is life beyond work. Don’t forget why you want to bring someone else in. So you can be more you. So you can do thinks beyond the business.
So you can have more life. And while I don’t believe in work-life balance I do think work-life integration. And with your new found time you can start to explore life beyond business.
The New You
All of this leads to a new you. While it may be a strange time and feeling to give up some of your business now you can start to explore new things. You can grow in areas beyond your business. You can be more.
What might life look like beyond your business? What are you scared of? What are you excited about being free to do?
By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the man you call when you want a keynote, training or a consultant to get your business ready for The Future of Business. He’s the host of The Future Done Right(TM) Show and a long-time business attorney. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.
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