A couple of years ago I made a huge transition in my business. In fact, I exited one of my brands to be able to transition fully into another one full-time (this had been a side gig for a few years). I was excited about the transition but it was a lot of work. This is why I wanted to share these 10 tips to transition your business.
Change can be a bit frightening at times. Especially when you step out into a brand new area or newly learned skill. I have been through many changes and transitions over the years.
“I know how painful, yet beneficial, it can be to transition. If done properly it can also be incredibly rewarding for both you and your clients.“-Tammy of Fearless Business Boss
Reasons For Transitioning Your Business
Before I give you my tips for transitioning, first, let’s discuss some reasons why you might want to transition your business.
Reasons you may want or need to transition your business:
- Health Reasons or Disability – our health is not guaranteed. This is one of the main reasons I started working from home and also why I transitioned my business.
- Niche Boredom – you are tired of the niche you have been helping clients with and want to change or want some added excitement.
- Want to Retire or Exit – perhaps you are ready to retire or semi-retire. You want to be able to sell your company.
- Sudden Life Events – this can include health as well, but usually means things like divorce, a death, or even a sudden move can change your business needs.
- New Audience Focus – perhaps you’ve begun to see a new market or audience that interests you. It could be a brand new one or one that has been there but now interests you more.
- Need/Want More Free Time – you want to hand over the business to someone else to manage on a day-to-day basis or have a partner so that you can take a passive role so you have more free time while still drawing an income from the business.
No matter the reason for transitioning your online business there are ways you can prepare and minimum negative effects on your business and your clients.
I like to remind my clients that…
“Business is a journey, not a sprint.“
For most of us, our business will not be an overnight success. Creating, growing, and scaling a business is a journey. It takes time to build let alone have growth and be able to scale it.
“As in the real world, how well your business succeeds depends on how well you engage and interact with your customers”JP De Silva of Business2Ciommunity
My Business Journey
As I think back on all the transitions, turns, and twists my business has taken in this journey (boy has it been a journey!) I thought I should prepare a timeline showing the changes along the way. So, that led me to create (& share) my service-based business journey timeline (from my LucidChart account). I thought it may help if I shared my business journey with you. See if you have any similar business journey experiences.
As you can see I started out helping Insurance Agents with lead generation. I then added Virtual Assistant Services (I had plenty of past experience) as the needs of my clients increased. I continued to transition and change (as I will discuss below) over the years until I grew to be a business & marketing coach.
Change In Name
The next change was to my company name. I wanted to help empower other disabled professionals to work from home as I knew how difficult it is for a disabled person to find work. In order to do this with my team, however, we needed to drop the lead generation as it was not a good fit and offer VA (virtual assistant services) + Social Media services for our clients.
Where To Next?
Shortly after transitioning to a new brand/name I also added Bookkeeping Services (this was my corporate background) and kept social media with some VA work. I wanted our company to be the all-in-one place where your backend office needs were met.
Final Transition For Tammy’s Office Solutions
After doing this along with more training and certifications we transitioned into a small boutique digital marketing agency. Offering digital marketing services for our clients including email marketing, SEO Blogging, social media management, and Facebook ads. We eventually also added a virtual ‘in-house’ graphic designer because we found so many of our clients had never truly branded their company or wanted re-brand.
In Between In My Online Business
In the meantime, I also added coaching services due to a demand for them. I had mentored for many years (right after my first year of VA services) and I have been a Pastor’s Wife who counseled teens, women, couples, and families and did pre-marital counsel for over 25+ years. Therefore, in 2017 I created a coaching company (unfortunately had to change the name later as the first name was already trademarked). I did business coaching in addition to digital marketing with my team.
Why Change Again?
Finally, at the end of 2020, after 12 years in this industry, I decided to exit. I wanted to leave the agency so I could focus more on coaching along with teaching and speaking. My health was one of the main reasons I decided to make this change. The digital marketing agency had grown and I was managing a team. This meant I was spending many hours working (sometimes 12-18 hours). My business coach helped me discern that it was time to put my health before my business!
Why transition again? I transitioned again due to my health and because I knew business coaching, speaking, & online instruction were what I was meant to do! This is what I was meant to do!!!
So Fearless Business Boss and Fearless Gal Boss (under the Fearless Business Boss brand) were born. I have to tell you that absolutely love coaching and helping others move their business forward. And I know this is what I’ve been meant to do!
You come to times in your life and business that you KNOW it is time for something to change. You must evaluate and weigh options and make a decision or choice. For me, this was one of the hardest, yet smartest decisions I’ve ever made.
The Life Of A Business
I believe we often start out in business geared toward one general area overall or possibly even a niche. And as we start our business we do not think about the possible transitions it will likely take in the coming years.
Often times client demands start to cause you to turn in the pathway. Other times it may be that you now have a family and want more time with them or your health may need more of your attention. Or perhaps your interests change. There can be a number of reasons to transition your online business but make sure you are ready and have steps in place to make it easier for you and your clients.
Looking back on your journey do you see how you arrived here? Do you see any similarities in my journey with yours?
Business Is Always Evolving
Believe it or not, I’m going through another transition in my business life. Once again, I’ve come to a crossroads. Where I must make a decision in the direction I am headed.
“Business is like a living thing and is ever evolving.“
Choices Again and Again
My current choices involve (1) I can keep going as I am or (2) I can try to reach out to a niche part of my audience to help them by doing group coaching. By adding this group coaching opportunity I think I will be able to help more people and in the process, I will even help myself.
This is not something I ever considered in the past. When I began this new business group coaching was not even in my thought process. I honestly thought I would always do 1 on 1 coaching, speaking, (some) writing, and online teaching.
My Current Transition to Start Group Coaching
I found that at the end of my 1-on-1 coaching programs the clients wanted to continue to receive help but often continuing an ongoing 1-on-1 business or marketing coaching program was cost prohibitive. I also wanted to stay connected and help them continue to move forward in their businesses at a reasonable cost without giving hours and hours away. The group business coaching is a win-win for us both.
I have now invited some clients to join the group I developed. I chose to make it an “invitation only” group for those I believe will continue to put the work into it as well as be a good fit for those already in the group. It is a way for clients to have access to me and coaching at a reasonable price point. It has worked very well for those who chose to accept the invitation. And I really enjoyed it. Most love group coaching for accountability.
What’s Next With Group Business Coaching Here?
After having success and really loving the first group I have decided to offer a very niche group that will be for Christian Service-Based Business Owners. I’m excited to get this one started soon. In this group, you do not have to have gone through one of my programs. You can simply join the group coaching program.
>If this is something that sounds like you sign up here for a Free Trial with the group!
I also have a “Marketing Made Easier with Tammy” Mastermind Group coming soon – you sign up for the Waitlist Here.
What To Expect When Transferring Your Business
A note about transferring your business…
Transferring your business is probably the biggest deal of your life. Yet many small business owners have no strategy for such a change. And that can be a critical mistake.-The Hartford Business Owner’s Playbook
Ways To Prepare For Transition In Your Business
When you are transitioning your business the most important thing is to take the time to do the steps to prepare for it.
There are a number of ways you can prepare yourself and your business.
The Hartford even recommends having your business appraised before a transition.
Even if you’re not ready to make a transition right away, go through the “exercise” of having your business appraised. What you find out might surprise you. And it could point out changes you can make today that will make your business more profitable tomorrow.-Business Owners Playbook by The Hartford
10 Tips To Transition Your Business
Whether you transition, change your focus, or exit, these steps should help you through it. As promised, these tips to transition your online business should help you.
- Systems & Processes – I cannot stress enough that you should have your processes & systems set up and recorded. It should be done in every business as a part of your processes (this means in daily business not just for transitioning it). Put together an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) or Manual of Operations. If you only start with a list – START YOUR LIST TODAY and expand it daily to include everything you and your team do daily, weekly, as well as, quarterly and yearly.
- Market Your Business Regularly – Marketing yourself daily, on a weekly or monthly basis, is crucial! Content – Content – Content is so important. Write content regularly, especially blog posts using keywords on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis (more is better of course but do not send emails too much or your unsubscribes will increase). This will keep you in front of your audience as an expert in your niche. Remember to also build relationships regularly, online and in person. In the end, Relationships can really build your business.
- Know Your Numbers – Make sure your finances and accounting are up to date. Print out any reports that may be needed including your P & L, Balance Sheet, and Corporate Tax Returns (these will be the most common).
- Develop a Detailed Plan to Transition – Whether it is time for a transition or you feel that it will be time to exit soon, it is a good idea to have a plan in place including where your clients will go for the services you have been providing. This will reassure your clients (& your team, if applicable). [Share as much of the plan as you can with all involved – once a plan is developed].
- Determine Your Action Steps Within the Plan – create steps that will make it easy for you, your clients, and your team to follow to take the necessary action(s) you desire.
10 Tips – Continued – To Transition Your Business
- Keep Clients Informed – If you decide that you have come to the place where you know it is time to change or transition, or exit, keep your clients informed. Explain in detail what will happen and how it will affect them.
- Create Needed Contract Updates – you can either create a transition agreement, to document a change in scope or work, or a new contract if needed with your clients. In some cases, you may choose to have a colleague take over your clients (this is what I did) so reassure clients that they are in good hands and set up a virtual introduction as well. Please put it all in writing.
- Be Transparent – Be as transparent as possible. If you are transparent it will reassure clients & help them to know what is coming and what to expect. This will ease their uncertainties about the future. [Please do not communicate until you have a clear plan in place].
- Be Available – Be ready to answer questions and do video meetings. Your clients and team will have questions so give times that you are available to answer those questions.
- Introductions – If you are transitioning clients over to a new provider it is important that you make the introductions ahead of time. Your clients need to feel involved in the process. More importantly, they need to feel confident that you have their best interest at heart and that the new provider will be able to manage the work well. They also need to develop trust in the new person they will work with so starting that introduction is important. Whether through email initially, it is also wise to offer video introductions also.
What Will Happen To Clients
Determining what will happen to clients can be extremely stressful for you and your clients. When I knew I was going to exit my agency the first thing I did was find a great provider who could take on all of my current clients. Fortunately having some influence in this industry by this time, I was able to secure another wonderful provider (whom I had worked with previously) for my clients. She also agreed to keep them at the same rate for the next several months.
She and I worked together to give clients the best possible outcome. I believe we had a rate of at least 90%+ client retention and about 95%+ were very pleased with how the transition was managed.
One day you will find yourself thinking about the future and what it may look like for you. I can tell you, in my case, that I did not expect the changes that happened in my business. For me, most of the transitions were natural and flowed with the course of the business and client needs.
The transition at the end of 2020, however, was a significant change, that for the most part went very smoothly. There will always be a few bumps and hangups but overall it was executed well. I know this last transition went smoothly for two reasons.
- We planned it out well
- I had processes & systems in place to hand over to the new provider.
I hope you have already developed some of these steps and tips for your business. If not, please take the first step today! I cannot stress how important processes & systems are for your business.
“Growing pains are inevitable but planning it out will ease your stress.”-Tammy
Questions For You
- Are you in the process of a transition or change?
- Have you already gone through a transition or change in your business and if so, please share some insights that helped you through it?
Thanks for stopping by again. If you need help with transitioning your business smoothly to the next forward please reach out today at email@example.com or contact us (via our site).
Tammy Durden is a business & marketing coach specializing in online service-based businesses. She helps them start, grow, and scale their business. If you need help with your business please email firstname.lastname@example.org