The Four Pillars of TREP Freedom
It is much easier to start a company than to close one.
Entrepreneurship is synonymous with freedom. We are told “know the end before you begin.” In other words, as you start the business, develop your plan for the future of the business before you are out of time to run it anymore. However, reality is this rarely happens because we are so focused on the dream and all the items it takes to get started. Almost every entrepreneur starts their business for one or more of the Four Pillars of Freedom: Time, Relationships, Economics or Purpose.
Interestingly, these four pillars create the acronym T-R-E-P, which is a much simpler way to spell entrepreneur – TREP. In fact, one way to know if you are an entrepreneur or not is real entrepreneurs cannot spell ENTREPRENEUR – spell check corrects it for us.
Just as a TREP starts their business for one of the four pillars of freedom they also exit for the same reason. As you build your business, you will enter a stage where the business owns you. This is ok for a while, but basically you have created a job for yourself. Many entrepreneurs never leave this stage, but some do and start to build a self-managed company. This is where the entrepreneur can focus on the things they are good at and enjoy while the rest of the company runs without the entrepreneur. This stage takes a lot of process-implementation and identifying key management people to execute the processes. It also involves a lot of trust and letting go which is inherently difficult for the entrepreneur.
Regardless of the stage an entrepreneur is in with their business, the succession plan will need to focus on the personal desires of the entrepreneur first. What is their desire for: Freedom of Time, Relationships, Economics or Purpose? One or more of these freedoms will be at the heart of the succession plan.