Not to be morose about it… but your business will come to an end at some point. Or at the least, your role in your business will come to an end at some point.
This is inevitable but it’s not something we talk about often… and I think we are doing ourselves – and our businesses! – a disservice when we don’t talk about and consider this.
There are essentially two ways for things to come to an end:
The business could be shut down (either by choice or circumstance).
Or we look for ways for the business – and our body of work – to continue without us.
Either option can be an aligned and empowered choice when we are willing to consider all the aspects and plan ahead.
It’s easy to think “I’ll just sell my business!”… and yes, there are many things that make this an appealing option. But this is also something you have to plan for and work towards many years in advance to make it sellable. (I have a local friend who is a business broker and one of her biggest challenges is telling someone who wants to sell the business they’ve built for years that’s it’s not ready to be sold… )
Or you might decide that when you are done with it you shut the business down. For some folks this might feel like a failure (because we should all be able to sell our business right?!) but I actually think it can be a beautiful thing to end a business when we plan accordingly for it. Not all businesses are meant to last forever.
We want to consider our own needs and goals in all of this. What do we want from our business – financially and otherwise – to be able to retire or move onto other things?
But there is also another aspect of this to consider – have you created something bigger than yourself that should continue beyond your working years?
I always hesitate to use the word ‘should’ but in some cases it really does apply. When you have created something that changes lives – your own framework and way of working with folks – it SHOULD continue on.
I have clients who are very purposeful about this – they KNOW that what they have created is much bigger than themselves and should live on. And part of our work together is exploring the ways to make sure that the torch can be passed onto whoever is meant to carry it next. They are many ways to do this but it does have to be planned ahead and purposeful.
What is your plan for ‘the end’? I know this is an easy thing to put off, but I encourage you to spend some time here in contemplation and consideration.
Let’s honor our businesses – and ourselves! – by planning as much for the end as we do for the upcoming quarter or year.