3 Ways Succession Planning Relieves Stress for Business Owners

Taking on the challenge of founding a business requires an entrepreneurial mind-set , one that’s tolerant of risk, hungry to overcome the insurmountable, and willing to absorb the high-intensity stress that comes with business ownership. As owners build their businesses, they often find themselves overwhelmed by stressors. From settling internal company disputes to balancing their work lives with their personal lives, business owners often end up addressing the concerns of others over themselves. These responsibilities can be draining for business owners. And though it seems counterintuitive, Exit Planning can help relieve some of these stressors and reignite their passion for business ownership.

When most business owners are approached by Exit Planning Advisors, their initial reactions to Exit Planning range from “I’m too busy,” to “I’ll start when I’m ready.” The idea of adding another thing to their plates can seem unsavory, especially for owners who don’t intend to exit their businesses for another 5, 10, or 20 years. While Exit Planning is important to all business owners, regardless of when they intend to exit , it’s important that advisors know how to show their business-owning clients’ that adding Exit Planning to their responsibilities takes away stress, rather than adding to it.

I recently spoke with a BEI Exit Planning client who told me that he feels like Exit Planning gave him back 10 years of his life. After talking with him, I realized that of everything he told me, there were three things that Exit Planning did to help relieve him of his stress.

Exit Planning Allows Business Owners to Relinquish Parts of the Job They Hate

No matter how much business owners love the work they do, there’s always an aspect of the job that they would rather not have to do. Constantly forcing themselves to do parts of the job that they hate for the sake of the company can damage owners’ motivation to continue. In the worst cases, it can spawn burnout and desperation to exit the business before the business is ready for its owner’s exit . Exit Planning eliminates this problem by focusing on developing a next-level management team that can take the reins of projects that the owner simply does not want to do.

The best part is that even if owners don’t see themselves exiting their businesses for decades down the line, they can still position themselves to minimize or even eliminate portions of the job they don’t like through Exit Planning.

Exit Planning Lets Business Owners Continue Doing the Things They Love

A big reason that owners hesitate to begin Exit Planning is because they love parts of the job and want to keep doing them. They worry that Exit Planning will push them toward giving up the parts of the job that they like before they’re ready. Fortunately, Exit Planning enhances business owners’ abilities to do the things they love, rather than eliminating them.

Because Exit Planning focuses on building a business’ Value Drivers , most owners find themselves delegating the tasks they’d rather not do to others, while keeping everything they love about ownership for themselves. It’s the planning portion of Exit Planning that gives owners the freedom to stick with the aspects of ownership they love, while the exit portion gives them options for when they are ready to start doing something else they love.

Related: The Golden Rule of Successful Succession Plans

Exit Planning Gives Business Owners a Safety Net

Exit Planning gives business owners a safety net, whether they plan to exit the business next year or intend to die at their desks. One of the most important things that a properly crafted Exit Plan does is assure that the business continues to function if the owner were to die or become permanently incapacitated. This is important to all business owners whose families rely on the business to maintain their current quality of life. It’s also essential for business owners who want their companies’ legacies to outlive them. Exit Planning’s focus on business continuity takes unpredictable situations, such as sudden death or incapacitation, and gives owners control over how their businesses and families will address and overcome them.


Though business owners are often tempted to look at Exit Planning as yet another stressful thing they feel obligated to do, properly practiced Exit Planning often relieves common ownership stressors. By helping owners delegate tasks they hate, hold on to tasks they love, and create a safety net for their businesses and families, Exit Planning can make business ownership more enjoyable for owners while giving them options for when they’re ready to exit. Taking the stress out of business ownership is the very foundation of most advisory practices, which often means that Exit Planning is a worthwhile addition to any advisor’s core practice .