Micro Business Therapy™

with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley

Couch Sessions: Succession planning and founder’s declining mental capacity

chair1.jpgIn today’s fast-paced world, small business owners are even more hyper-connected and overloaded with information, choices, and distractions. One of the hardest things to determine is whether you’re on the right path or not. Great work requires taking risks. Couch Sessions offers practical information, new perspectives and quick tips to help point you in the right direction.

Are you a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Got a question you just can’t seem to find the answer for? Please submit your small business questions here. Be sure to bookmark and check this page each week, your question and the reply could appear right here in “Couch Sessions” for entrepreneurs and small business owners. This week on Couch Sessions…

Q: How might one frame a discussion of succession management with a
 founder/owner whose mental faculties are not what they once were?

 Donald Kopis

Succession management and exit plans are always delicate conversations because the business owner has made the decision to relinquish something they have worked hard to bring to fruition. It also can involve and affect the future of multiple parties. With deteriorating health being an issue, the succession conversation should be tempered with dignity and compassion. Is anyone in the business close to the owner’s family? This sounds like something that should be broached with the support of family.

Assuming they are aware of the health concerns and issues, someone who is empathetic needs to thoughtfully explain how the owner’s health is affecting business operations. Make a list of your concerns and be able to support your findings. Prepare and provide some constructive alternatives and options that allow for a smooth transition of management.

Depending on your relationship and business agreement, you may want to consult an attorney to address your legal requirements and remedies. However, I would hope that things could be mediated and worked out directly with the family.

Q: In 
July 2014, after 12 months of planning and website development. We built a 
great website and feel that our collection of Italian-made eyewear is raising the bar when it comes to fashionable, affordable online

 Although we had some help with our social networking,
 we were not prepared to deal with the complexities of today’s online 
marketing. So, it has been “trial by error” when it comes to the different
 avenues we are using to get our message out. The thing is, there isn’t any 
one tried and true program or outline to follow. There are many differences of opinion and really not one person you can talk to or hire. 

 Karen Evans

, http://www.francisdrakeeyewear.com

Social media is meant to be used as an enhancement, not a replacement for traditional marketing. I’m a firm believer in the effectiveness of face-to-face connections. Despite technology advancements, people want to see, know and trust those they do business with. Even with an online business, you have to get out and physically be in the face of not only your market, but complementary vendors, peripheral suppliers, etc.

Also, you need to communicate with your market in a manner and via the platform they are accustomed to using. How much of your market uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram to look for eyewear? Despite your business being based online, where is your market offline? Are you physically connecting to people in the fashion industry? Can provide local boutiques with samples? Can you exchange and promote each other’s website links? As a retailer of affordable eyewear, are there any wholesale or distributor relationships you could establish or cultivate? What trade shows or physical events can you participate in that attract your market and provide you with an opportunity to drive them to your website? Effective marketing requires entrepreneurs to understand where, how and when their market and their product/services intersect.

Social media shouldn’t “trial by error.” It is a means to an effective end when you use the right platform, speak the right language and balance it with thoughtful and cultivated connections.

Now let’s talk about YOU! Are you a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Need help NOW? Call me at (916) 287-1432

Couch Sessions is a weekly small business advice column designed to answer questions from struggling and/or inquisitive entrepreneurs. Micro Business Therapist™ and simplicity expert, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a savvy professional with over two decades of experience in sustainable, holistic and progressive business practices who has successfully guided new and seasoned entrepreneurs through the daily challenges of operating a business with timely and transformative advice. She is featured in Forbes.com and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, contributor for the San Francisco Examiner and Women On Business; and curates the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy™

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