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How Do You Handle Goodbyes in Business?

June 9, 2022

Thursday Thoughts, Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses, Female Business Owners

As I prepare to drive back to my hometown to attend my uncle’s funeral mass today after speaking with my vibrant aunt yesterday, I remain deeply grateful for the role older relatives have played in my life. We often don’t think about the value of aunts and uncles as much as parents and grandparents, but we should. They can be vital maternal or paternal guides in our lives – and in my case business too.

My Uncle Joel whose funeral, I attended yesterday, followed in his father’s footsteps of being a family doctor. His sons followed in their grandfather and father’s footsteps. My aunt was instrumental in investing extra family income from the medical incomes into flipping houses and buying restaurants and selling them for profits increasing wealth in the family. She was naturally skilled in accounting while only earning a high school diploma.

Yesterday as I sat with her prior to my uncle’s funeral, we talked about her love for still doing bookwork at the age of 84. Her passion for accounting and “deal making” has lasted since she was 18 years old, trained by someone back in the 1950s to work in a business office. Together my aunt and uncle supported my parent’s ski shop in the late 60’s and early 70’s giving me an opportunity to grow up in a cool enterprise. Although my parents sold their shop, the small business spirit stuck in me, and I naturally followed in my family’s tradition of entrepreneurship.

Although “endings” aren’t something most people or business women want to speak of, whether its loss of life or loss of income, my aunt and I talked about it as I look to semi-retire my company in 2023 after 3 decades of entrepreneurship. “Tracy, you have to know when to let things go. All things come to an end sometime. Smart people know that, have a plan, and close down shop when it is time without remorse.”

In life, saying goodbye to a loved one feels similar to the feelings of letting a great passion of particular work end too. But whether it is a dying passion, waning interest in products or services, marketplace changes that are unstoppable, or aging out, it is okay to set a business plan to move on from an entrepreneurial entity after years of success.

It might feel sad, but as one of my clients said to me after losing their 9-year contract because they added staff to take my place, “Tracy, don’t cry. There is no crying in business.” To which I responded, “But I’ll miss you.”  Not too different than saying goodbye to a loved one today.

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