We tell our clients that the exit is inevitable, and the goal is to achieve their Win.
With the announcement that I will be stepping out of ECG’s day-to-day operations to serve on the Board, I can now say that I have personally experienced everything we talk about in our articles, newsletters, exit assessments, and Exit Engineering® process.
Even with the excitement for my next chapter and the company in good hands, I learned some profound lessons while mapping the path, pursuing the Win, and seeing the exit unfold.
Assessment: It Starts Silently
The exit is a steady progression, not an instant decision. It begins before you know it, whether with a fleeting thought, a subtle sense, or a soft current that you don’t even notice. By the time you’ve had the aha moment and made up your mind, you’ve completed the first several stages of the journey. Other people around you may even sense it before you do.
Where are you on the exit scale today? There’s no wrong answer, but a little bit of awareness goes a long way. ECG’s Exit Assessment helped me recognize both the company’s readiness and my own readiness. The latter was somewhat of a painful truth. It’s hard to look at what you helped build and say that it’s time to move on.
Strategic Plan: Embrace the Reality
Fulfillment. Accomplishment. Enthusiasm. Connection. Motivation. Determination. You can feel so many positive emotions in business. It’s easy to overlook true enjoyment, which is also part of the equation. You’ll only thrive on the rush of entrepreneurship for so long. Eventually, it’ll all tie back to whether you’re genuinely enjoying the rollercoaster that is running and growing a business. I’ve had so much fun seeing ECG and its people grow. It was time to find a new definition for my Win so I can preserve the fun in a different role.
Consulting: The Grief Is Real
A retired business owner recently told us, “Everything is great, but I don’t feel relevant.” It sparked an epiphany in how ECG views owners’ common fears and anxieties during their exits. As I worked my way out of systems and processes, everyone else carried on. Huh! Look at that. Good to see, but also bittersweet.
As the transition continued, I felt a loss of relevance. I also joke (haha, but no, seriously) that I endured the seven stages of grief—and that’s with my future both at ECG and in my new endeavor coming into focus beautifully. I even consulted my business coach alongside ECG’s consulting, illustrating the value and importance of outside perspective.
Brokering: See the Good
I speak of grief from a place of perspective. No matter how bright the future may be, expect to go through the emotional ringer to get there. Up until the exit, your business defines you. When you look in the mirror, then look at your business and picture the two separately, you might question where you are and wonder who you’ll be.
Rather than focus on what you’re losing by leaving, remember what you’re gaining by going. When you genuinely believe in your decision, you don’t need to rationalize to support it. You’re not crazy. You’re not in crisis. You’re doing a thing—a big thing—and managing the emotions that come with it. Meanwhile, ECG is managing the transaction so you can focus on the transition.
Know This: Someone Understands
Whether you’re just visiting our website or are an avid reader of our newsletter, and whether you’re a past, present, or future ECG client, our talk is also our walk. Our team knows what it’s like to witness a business owner’s exit first-hand. The Exit Engineering® process worked for us just like we designed it to work for you. This company is ready to take the next step and go to the next level. I’m here for it, just in a different way.
By Dawn Ovrom, Owner & Board Member, Exit Consulting Group