If during the morning conference call you acquire sweaty palms with the mention of the phrase “business transition,” it’s time to come up with a plan. A business transition plan helps to establish goals, priorities and strategies, and without one, businesses leave their financial future to chance. [i]
Here are 4 tips you should know when your business is going through a transition:
1. Partner with Specialists
We all know that the process of business transitioning can be draining. If your company is undergoing a business transition, your entire company is most likely in overdrive. Explaining to employees what is happening, what will happen, and making steps toward these changes takes a lot of valuable time that not every company has, but such communications are vital to answer the uncertainties that accompany business transitioning. Personal biases may also arise within business transitioning. During trying times it is understandable to be mentally, emotionally, and physically spent, but these feelings can leave us unable to make sound decisions. [ii] Partnering with agencies that specialize in business transition management, also known as change management, can alleviate time and budget constraints.
2. Develop a Written Plan
There are many decisions that accompany a business transition plan. Who is going to be in charge of what areas? What is the time frame for each step? Which departments need to collaborate? Sound and smooth business transitioning relies on having a well-defined transition plan to lead the way. A good tip from Baker Tilly LLP: Identifying and determining the key value drivers of your business form the backbone of any transition plan. [iii] Planning starts with an assessment of the current situation and goals for the future. Clarifying goals ranked in the top ten must-dos on PwC Business Transition Guide. [iv] The business transition plan is your roadmap to get from the current situation to the future goals.
3. Regularly Evaluate Your Business Transition Management Processes
A written plan is not etched in stone. As new data comes to light it must be factored into the plan. New data may identify a weakness of the plan, or a change in the environment which requires a change in the plan. A good way to regularly evaluate your transitioning process is to have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly transition team meetings to review progress on the project plan. Transition management is a great way to ensure that you are making the transition proceed as smoothly as possible and involving the appropriate stakeholders which increases buy-in to the overall plan.
4. Adjust When Needed
Changing a business in any way can greatly affect its structural integrity. It’s okay if your transition plan needs revision further down the road. It is better to adjust your transition plans to be more effective and efficient, rather than force cumbersome transition plans that don’t encourage cooperation among departments and alignment with your business goals. A deficient business transition plan can be costly to your business.
How to make sure your transition plan is working:
(1) Ask your employees how they are feeling
Survey your employees along the way. This will not only allow you to retain and keep your employees happy, but it will also fix any problems in the future. Inside feedback can be a fast track to problem solving.
(2) Make this an opportunity for peer-to-manager advancements
Transitions can bring out the best in people. Look for opportunities to invest in your employees by nurturing advancements from peer to manager. Appropriate internal promotions encourage employee engagement and increase the likelihood employees will continue investing their time and talents in your business.
(3) Make sure the culture of your business is not impacted negatively
Transitions aren’t always easy, and sometimes your business needs extra assistance. Too many changes or a non-supportive work culture are often cited as reasons employees choose to leave. [v] The management of business transitions can be pivotal regarding employees' decisions to stay and to fully engage (or not) with the firm's goals. It is a critical time to be attentive to what employees are thinking and discussing, and taking steps to clearly communicate progress on the business transition and acknowledge hard work and helpful actions.
(4) Offer options
No one likes putting time and effort into a project or task only to have processes change. Make your transition plan flexible so that multiple employees are trained in key processes. Your employees will thank you, and it could prevent a major crisis in the long run.
What tips do you have for business transition management? Please share below.
[i] "Business Transition Planning FAQs." Entrepreneur.
[ii] Soll, Jack, Katherine Milkman, and John Payne. “Outsmart your own biases.” Harvard Business Review, 2015.
[iii] "Planning for business transition: The importance of working on “why not” and setting personal goals." Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, 2014.
[iv] PwC. "10 important points when considering business transition." PwC, 2016.
[v] Sostrin, Jesse. “Company Culture: Why Employees and Stay – and Why They Go.” Monster, 2016.
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).