Interview Patty

The Succession Fallacy

February 13, 2024

I see it over and over… one of the biggest mistakes women business owners make when they start thinking about exiting their business.

It is such a big mistake that it can actually send you reeling backwards in time and space.

It can cause revenue drops and send reliable staff scrambling. It can leave you feeling demoralized and betrayed. In a worst-case scenario, it can decimate your business.

What is this nightmare tale?

Selecting a person to operate your business, with the goal of having them buy, inherit, or continue running the business for your benefit.

How can it become a nightmare? With a combination of:

  • Applying a model you know, thinking it will solve the frustration of feeling tied to your business – instead of developing a model that really does work for you.
  • Placing your trust in a system and a person that can’t live up to your standards.
  • Hoping for the best – even when you know ‘hope’ is not a strategy!

Today’s Question:

What is the ‘Succession Fallacy’ and how can you elude its clutches?

But Here’s the Twist
. . .

Modern business is largely based on the corporate model developed in the early 1900s. It has a top-down hierarchy of leadership, is focused on beating the competition, and was developed by men for men. This model never worked for women in the past, and I would argue it doesn’t work well for women today.

Most of us are products of this model and its frequently toxic work environments. We were taught to suppress our emotions, intuition, and perceptiveness in a business setting.

If the old corporate model is all you know, then you may be repeating that structure in your own business. Worse, you may be suppressing your emotions, intuition, and perceptiveness. But you need these personal resources to avoid pitfalls and build a successful, rewarding business. As a business owner, you are taking all the risks and reaping all the rewards – in theory.

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue

Succession planning is required in a corporate environment. People become cogs in a wheel and can be replaced. It’s why many of us left the corporate world to begin with!

Your business is different. It relies on you, and you can’t be easily replaced. Applying the old corporate model in your business does you, your team, and your business a huge disservice.

Now What?

How can you avoid falling into this ground-sucking sinkhole? Recognizing it before it happens is key.

A very successful entrepreneur, Margot, recently shared this with me:

“I felt so proud of myself and my team because we had built a company that was helping others develop strong businesses, we were role models for others, I was interviewed for a book about solopreneurs making millions, and our company had hit the $1.5 million mark.

But I also knew the toll this was taking on me, so I hired an outsourced chief operating officer to run the business and I had high hopes she would one day take over the business. Or so I thought…

It turns out my COO was really a virtual assistant, and although she had faith in her abilities, no one else did! She ended up running off longtime staff members, killing our sales, and basically running the company into the ground. It all happened so quickly, and then she quit.

I feel so guilty for picking her, trusting her, and letting this happen. Now I’m essentially starting over, trying to repair the reputation of my business, and getting back on track.

I’ll bet I set my exit back several years since I have to rebuild my business and my revenue. It was such a painful lesson to learn!”

As women, we are a collaborative and hopeful bunch. We often enter into partnerships, joint ventures, or succession plans that are ill-fated from the start. It might take years to discover this is the wrong path for you, and damage may be done during that time.

Exit readiness is a strategic and ongoing process that involves setting the stage for a smooth transition, maximizing business value, and ensuring your legacy endures.

This foundational strategy is timeless and positioning your company for your exit will help you generate more revenue, streamline operations, and build real business value.

Women who have successfully exited their business have shared with me that the most successful way forward was having a trusted, knowledgeable business advisor who could be objective and caring.

That’s the role I fill, helping the owner with the practical, emotional, confidential, and logistical puzzles that plague the exit transition.

You're not just selling a company; you're transitioning a piece of your identity. Your business is an embodiment of your passion, hard work, and aspirations.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a dynamic roadmap, which is the first step to an Elegant Exit™. Your exit can lead to wealth if you choose to sell your company, but what brought you here won’t get you there.

An Elegant Exit™ requires a new way of thinking, new skills, a simple and elegant design, and an advocate on your side. Contact me to learn more. 

Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/

What is the ‘Succession Fallacy’ and how can you elude its clutches?

I'd love to hear what you think.  I read and respond to every email personally.

A Note from Patty...

My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

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