Four tips for transitioning your business to a new owner

You’ve made arrangements to transfer your share of the business to a partner or external buyer. How can you make sure everything goes smoothly? 

Here are four tips that can help make transitioning go smoothly

1. Treat the transition as a process, not an event

Signing the paperwork may feel like the final piece—but it’s really the beginning of the process of transition. You’re not just transferring your business’s assets; You’re also transferring employee loyalty and customer trust. It helps to treat transition as a series of carefully planned steps, instead of a one-time event.

2. Prepare your team and your customers

Change can cause stress for your team and your customers so it’s important to keep them well informed throughout the transition. Communicating early, often and consistently can help to ease concerns. A face-to-face approach is recommended for employees and key customers.

3. Plan in detail

The transition may involve significant updates to documents and processes, as well as rethinking employee responsibilities, technology and office space. Write down every task necessary to prepare for your last day in your current role. Include start and end dates, and a “completed” column to track status and help everyone stay focused.

4. Make the division of responsibilities very clear

You may have a period of overlap when you and your successor can work together through the transition. To avoid duplicated effort and conflict, put your responsibilities and theirs in writing. Clearly state end dates for each of your responsibilities so there’s certainty about when you’re exiting the business.

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