When you’ve built your business from the ground up, it’s natural to take pride in your achievements. If your company has found significant success, you may even feel reluctant to step down from your position as a business owner when the time comes.
Once you decide it’s time to shift the ownership of your business, you may not know where to start. After all, there are numerous questions to answer, forms to fill out, and plans to make. Some business owners even spend years seeking out a suitable replacement for their company, whether it’s a family member, friend, or ambitious employee.
Fortunately, you’re not alone. If you’re ready to shift the ownership of your business, consider the following step-by-step guide to help you navigate everything from beginning to end.
1. Create a solid plan
Making the decision to shift away from business ownership is a challenge on its own. However, it can be just as challenging to present the change to your clients, employees, and teams in a way that is helpful and understanding of their potential concerns.
When will the shift in ownership occur? How involved will the current owner be in the company after the shift takes place? What changes will the new owner make to the company? These are all questions you need to ask yourself when creating your plan. If you can answer the questions on your own, you will be much more prepared to answer the questions from others and offer guidance on what to expect next.
2. Decide how you want to transfer business ownership
Once you’ve created your plan for how and when your transfer of leadership will take place, it’s important to make decisions regarding the legal transfer of ownership.
As the current owner, you must decide if you want to transfer legal ownership by selling the business to the new owner or reapportioning ownership to more than one owner. You could also lease or gift the business to the new owner.
While all methods of transference have their pros and cons, any of the methods above are good places to start. Choose the method that’s right for you, and consult your lawyer or legal team for more information on how to carry out ownership transference.
3. Announce the shift in ownership to your team
Whether or not the transference of ownership is a surprise to your team, it’s essential to make a formal announcement through email or in person. Even though the transference might not make much of a difference to your staff, the decision might be emotional, and it’s important to convey your decision clearly.
If you feel comfortable doing so, it might be helpful to your team to outline any changes in expectations and goals that the new owner will have for the company so that employees know how the change in ownership will impact them directly.
To provide your team with comfort after receiving the news, this is an excellent opportunity to give your employees branded apparel or other gifts. You could even use this time to hand out annual awards, such as custom trophies.
4. Follow through
For owners that have decided to stick around after the transference in ownership, taking a backseat in the business you’ve been involved in for a long time might be challenging.
For the sake of the new owner, yourself, and your staff, you need to follow through with the initial plan created. This means sticking to your new position or staying away from the company if it’s been decided that you will be moving on to a new opportunity. Following these steps is an important part of shifting business owners effectively and getting the best of both worlds.