In family and entrepreneurial situations, leadership turnover is such a rarity no one has the experience to handle it alone


9781477266939_COVER.inddOn December 4th, Dave Franzetta, co-author of Changing Places, talked with radio host, Michael Dresser, on the Michael Dresser Show, broadcast on CRN Digital Talk Radio. This is Part 4 of a 5-part edited version of the radio interview.
MICHAEL DRESSER: I just opened your book, Changing Places, to page 103 and read the quote about how there’s a trick to the graceful exit. Maybe the key is that when you’re creating your business plan, you have to build in a path to quit the business and exit gracefully. Most people don’t think about that, right?
DAVE FRANZETTA: Yes, and that’s what makes exiting the business so difficult for most business owners; they never even think about it. The cost of failing to plan for a graceful exit is one of the major themes of our book, Changing Places. In family and entrepreneurial situations leadership turnover is so rare–we’re talking every 25 years or so for small companies, compared to Fortune 500 companies where the CEOs are changing every five to six years–that small business owners don’t have any experience with succession planning. They’ve got very little practice in handling a business leadership transition. They do have lots of experience handling personal life transitions, though. The first stage of the work that they have to do, if they’re planning for a succession for their business, is to determine for themselves what their life is going to be like once they leave the business. Because if they don’t have a life planned ahead of them, something that excites them that they want to go into after they leave the business, they’re going to hold onto that business until their last gasp of breath.
MICHEAL: Well, sure, they’ll hold on tight.
DAVE: It’s turns out to be to be very difficult for them to turn the business over to anyone.
MICHAEL: What was it, Jack Nicholson was in the movie About Schmidt  and it’s a prime example of what you are talking about.  The guy retires and asks himself, “Now what do I do? My identity is gone and everything that I am was in that business.” And that’s when, effectively, if you’re not careful, life can stop for you.
DAVE: Exactly. We’ve seen many instances where people have a situation like that, and sometimes there really isn’t any perfect answer for people who are trying to plan a succession. What it may involve is the founder of the company wanting to have some kind of an ongoing role in the business, but it’s more like a retired professor–a professor emeritus–would have at a university. They have their name on the business. They get involved in board meetings, and some large company functions. They have an office and they come to work every day; but they’re not really running the business anymore. They stay in the business they need something to connect with, and they haven’t found a way to connect themselves to a life beyond the business.
To be continued…stay tuned for Part 5 in the next blog post!
Dave Franzetta and Moss Jackson pen, Changing Places, an essential guide for small business owners planning to retire.
Check it out: “Changing Places: Making a Success of Succession Planning for Entrepreneurs and Family Business Owners” (published by AuthorHouse).
Feedback please to:
If you don’t have an exciting life planned for yourself when you exit your business, you may just keep coming to work and coming to work, until when you do finally leave the company it will be on a gurney.

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