Beginning Anew: A Process of Transition

Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus is accredited the oft-repeated quotation, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” The words have been manipulated throughout the ages, all to the same general effect: The only constant about change is change itself.

Aside from wordplay, the words prove prophetic in matters large and small. Large matters may involve world events, climatic changes, political and religious shifts. This year we have the Winter Olympics to be held in Seoul, South Korea with the possible participation of pariah nation North Korea. The growing political protests in Iran may also signal a major shift in Middle Eastern politics. The rapid melting of the polar ice caps may eventually contribute to global cooling as enormous chunks of melting ice cool the oceans.

Small matters often loom large in individual lives. A young child starting school, a newly adult child leaving the parental nest, a change of employment, illness, winning the lottery, or a new struggle to ward off bankruptcy. The older we get, the harder change hits us.

Change does not exempt business. Major shifts in the way we run business came with the advent of new technologies that offered us ways of doing more at a faster pace with fewer or cheaper resources. Sole proprietors, solopreneurs, and whatever other labels fit small business owners occasionally find themselves at a crossroads. Do they continue down the same path or do they take a new direction? Any new direction, from selling the business to altering the company’s focus, requires a process for managing the change to ensure the best results.

If you’re selling your business, BDC.com offers four tips to ensure a smooth transition: 1) negotiate a favorable sale; 2) plan the transition with the buyer; 3) communicate with staff, vendors, and other business partners; and, 4) let go. Once the new owner has taken control of the business, the former owner must realize his or her participation in the business has ended, step back and let it all go.

But let’s say your decision to change direction isn’t as drastic as selling the business. Perhaps you want to pursue other market opportunities. Perhaps the same-old, business-as-usual no longer fulfills you. Perhaps you see the proverbial handwriting on the wall and know that the product or service you provide will soon be phased out of the market–and you need to retool the business to keep up with changes in technology and market demand.

The Heggen Group is going through just such a change. From consulting with companies to re-engineer their processes for more efficient, productive, predictable, and profitable business, the company will turn its focus to teaching executives how to do it themselves. The focus will remain on the core expertise, but the direction will change from consulting to instruction. The need is great, and the transition mandates a process to control the execution of change.

Entrepreneur addresses this process. It involves defining goals, priorities, and strategies and may likely require hiring an objective third party to identify concerns and issues that the business owner misses, being unable to see the forest for the trees. Business Wealth Solutions offers a detailed description of the transition process that doesn’t necessarily involve selling the business, but taking it into a new direction. Although their advice breaks down the process into two major steps, those steps encompass a lot of detail. ISG published a white paper that, while targeted toward multinational organizations, “covers multiple business processes… to describe practices that worked well and helped avoid pitfalls.”

The information is out there. You can spend valuable time finding it yourself or rely on a consultant’s expertise to help you control the change process. The Heggen Group is changing, but the constant part of change is the need for a process to manage it.