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We Are Hiring! Why a General Manager is Crucial to a Successful Exit Strategy

Picture this...

You've always dreamt of owning a donut shop, where the aroma of freshly baked pastries fills the air and delighted customers savor each delicious bite. One day, an opportunity presents itself, and you find the perfect donut shop for sale. It's everything you've envisioned - a charming store, a loyal customer base, and a recipe for mouthwatering donuts that's been a closely guarded secret. You can almost taste the success and fulfillment that come with being a donut shop owner.

But, hold on a moment...

You're not the first to have this dream. In fact, someone is selling this dream to you - the current owner. Now, consider this: what if the current owner, the custodian of the closely held donut recipe and the pulse of the business, vanishes as soon as the deal is done? They leave you with a set of keys, a pile of flour, and the expectation to 'just make it work'. Would you feel ready to take on this responsibility without guidance and assistance?

This scenario isn't unique to donut shops; it's a reality that many business buyers face. It's also a reality that you, as a business owner contemplating an exit, might inadvertently be thrusting upon someone else.

Now, shift the lens back to your own business. Imagine you're the current owner of that enticing donut shop. You've nurtured it, shaped it, and turned it into a thriving venture. The time has come for you to sell and move on to new adventures. But, are you prepared to hand over the reigns with confidence, knowing the future of your beloved donut shop is in capable hands? This is the crucial scenario many business owners, particularly in the home staging industry, find themselves facing.

So, let's consider a pivotal question: If you were to sell your business, could you confidently entrust it to a General Manager or Lead Stager to run seamlessly? In this article, we explore why having a designated manager with full autonomy to run your business is not just a smart choice but a necessity, especially when preparing your home staging business for a profitable exit.

The Challenge of Transition

The Business Owner’s Perspective Transitioning a business is akin to passing a beloved recipe - one nurtured and perfected over the years - to a new chef. For a home staging business owner, this transition represents a significant life change, a culmination of years of hard work, passion, and dedication. Your home staging business is not just a venture; it's your brainchild, a testament to your creativity and determination.

Illustrating Common Scenarios Imagine you've built a reputable home staging business, attracting a steady stream of clients, and have a team that operates like a well-oiled machine. You decide it's time to move on, maybe retire or venture into a new industry. However, there's a roadblock. Who will take over the reins? Do you have a trusted lieutenant prepared to handle the daily operations, client relations, and team management with the same zeal and finesse?

In many cases, the answer is elusive. As a business owner, you may not have cultivated a successor or empowered a General Manager with the autonomy to operate independently. This leaves you facing a conundrum - how to exit gracefully while ensuring the continued success of the enterprise you've painstakingly built.

The Dilemma of Relinquishing Control One of the most formidable challenges a home staging business owner faces during a transition is relinquishing control. For years, you've been at the helm, making critical decisions, envisioning creative strategies, and building relationships with clients and suppliers. The business reflects your identity and style; it's an extension of yourself.

Now, the prospect of someone else steering the ship, making decisions that could alter the course of the business, can be unsettling. It's akin to letting go of the brush when you've been painting a beautiful canvas. The fear of losing control, the worry about whether someone else will cherish and maintain the business ethos, can be paralyzing.

This emotional and psychological struggle often becomes the sticking point. The thought of not being in the driver's seat, the nagging worry about how the business will fare without your direct influence, can delay or even derail the exit process. In the context of a home staging business, this dilemma is even more pronounced.

Home stagers are artists, with each project reflecting their unique style and creativity. Letting go of a venture so intricately tied to one's creative expression can be emotionally taxing.

Demystifying the Myths

Unveiling Mental Blockages That Hinder Your Business's Sale Readiness As a home staging business owner contemplating a transition, you might find yourself ensnared in a web of myths and mental blockages. These misconceptions can significantly limit your ability to position your business for sale.

Let's debunk these myths and pave the way for a smooth transition.

Myth 1: "Only I Can Run My Business Effectively" Misconception: The belief that no one else can run your home staging business as effectively as you can is a common myth among business owners. They often assume that their unique style, expertise, and intimate knowledge of the business are irreplaceable. Reality: A proficient General Manager or Lead Stager can indeed run the business effectively, provided they are adequately empowered and trained. In fact, having a capable manager allows you to step back and focus on strategic growth, fostering fresh ideas and expanding your venture's horizons.

Myth 2: "Losing Control Means Losing the Business" Misconception: Many business owners fear that relinquishing control equals losing the essence of their business. They worry that someone else might steer the business in a direction they didn't envision. Reality: Control and guidance are distinct entities. While you may lose day-to-day control, your guidance, values, and strategic direction can still shape the business. You'll be overseeing from a broader perspective, ensuring your vision is preserved.

Myth 3: "Finding a Competent General Manager is Impossible" Misconception: Some business owners believe that finding a capable General Manager or Operations Lead is an insurmountable task, and even if they find one, integrating them seamlessly into the business is challenging. Reality: Talent exists; it's about identifying, nurturing, and empowering the right individual. With appropriate hiring strategies, training programs, and a conducive work environment, finding and fostering a competent manager is achievable.

Myth 4: "Transitioning Means Abandonment" Misconception: There's a prevalent fear that transitioning out of the business equates to abandoning it completely. Business owners worry about the venture's fate without their active involvement. Reality: Transitioning doesn't imply abandonment. It's about smartly disengaging while ensuring a strong support system remains in place. Being available for guidance during and after the transition reassures a smooth shift in ownership.

Myth 5: "No One Cares for My Business Like I Do" Misconception: Business owners often believe that their level of care and commitment to the business is unparalleled and cannot be replicated. Reality: A well-trained and passionate General Manager can be equally invested in the business's success. By instilling your values and work ethic in them, they can share the same dedication and care for the business.

By dispelling these myths and acknowledging the benefits of having a proficient manager, we pave the way for a more seamless transition, ensuring that your home staging business thrives beyond your direct involvement.

The Bridge to a Profitable Exit

The Managerial Solution: A Smooth Transition for Profitable Exits In the journey toward selling your home staging business profitably, there exists a pivotal bridge, a bridge that links your ownership to a prosperous transition. This bridge is a proficient manager, a key figure who can make all the difference in the success of your exit strategy.

Preparing a Manager for Autonomy One of the most significant steps in getting your business ready for sale is preparing your manager for autonomy. It's akin to taking the training wheels off a bicycle; it requires trust, training, and empowerment. Here's how:

1. Trusting Someone Else So That You Can Exit Smoothly The journey starts with trust. Trusting someone else to not only maintain operational control but also to run the business effectively in your absence is essential. Your role transitions from being the operator to the overseer, the mentor who guides the business from a higher vantage point.

2. Training and Empowerment To prepare a manager for autonomy, you must provide them with comprehensive training and empowerment.

This involves:

  • Understanding the Business: Your manager should possess an in-depth understanding of every aspect of your home staging business, from its core values to the day-to-day operations.

  • Operational Control: They should be well-versed in managing the day-to-day operations, from client interactions to staging logistics and financial management.

  • Leadership and Decision-Making: Effective leadership and decision-making are crucial. They should be equipped to make critical calls and lead the team confidently.

  • Client and Vendor Relations: Building and nurturing client and vendor relationships is vital. Your manager should understand the importance of maintaining these connections.

  • Problem Solving: Equipping your manager with problem-solving skills is crucial. They should be capable of handling challenges that may arise.

The Key Responsibilities of a General Manager A General Manager (GM) plays a pivotal role in facilitating a smooth transition. Their responsibilities include:

  • Team Leadership: Managing and leading the team, ensuring everyone is aligned with the business's goals.

  • Financial Oversight: Keeping a keen eye on the financial health of the business, managing budgets, and ensuring profitability.

  • Client Management: Building and maintaining strong client relationships, understanding their needs, and ensuring satisfaction.

  • Vendor Coordination: Coordinating with vendors, negotiating contracts, and ensuring the timely delivery of resources.

  • Operational Efficiency: Optimizing processes and ensuring the business runs smoothly.

GM vs. Business Owner: Understanding the Differences It's crucial to recognize the differences between a General Manager and a business owner. While an owner is deeply invested in the long-term vision and strategic direction of the business, a GM focuses on the day-to-day management, efficiency, and profitability.

By nurturing a competent General Manager who understands the nuances of your business, you're not just preparing for a profitable exit; you're building a strong foundation for its continued success under new ownership.

In the next section, we'll delve deeper into the practical steps you can take to empower your manager and ensure a seamless transition.

Overcoming the Mental Hurdle

Why Control is a Mental Block The notion of control runs deep in the veins of many business owners, especially when it concerns their life's work. It's more than just about running the show; it's about identity, pride, and the fear of the unknown.

But let's delve into why control becomes a formidable mental block.

1. Identity and Ownership: Your business is an extension of yourself. It reflects your vision, values, and aspirations. Letting go can feel like losing a part of your identity, which can be emotionally challenging. 2. Fear of the Unknown: Change is scary, particularly when it involves something as significant as the business you've nurtured for years. The unknowns of what comes next can trigger anxiety and resistance. 3. Attachment to Success: If your business has seen success under your direct control, there's a natural attachment to that success. Handing over control may lead to concerns about whether the same level of success can be maintained. 4. Relinquishing Influence: As an owner, you've been at the helm, making decisions that shape the business's destiny. Relinquishing this influence can be unsettling.

The Freedom in Letting Go While the mental hurdles are understandable, there's immense freedom in letting go, both for you and your business.

Here's why overcoming this mental block is crucial: 1. Reduced Stress and Burnout: Running a business single-handedly can lead to exhaustion and burnout. By entrusting responsibilities to a capable manager, you can enjoy a healthier work-life balance. 2. Focus on Strategic Growth: With day-to-day operations off your plate, you can redirect your energy toward strategic growth, exploring new opportunities, and expanding your horizons. 3. A Profitable Exit: To prepare your business for sale, you need to show potential buyers that it can thrive without you. A competent manager is the key to demonstrating this, making your exit more appealing and profitable. 4. Renewed Passion: By shedding the weight of operational minutiae, you can rediscover your passion for the business. You can explore new ideas, invest in innovation, and find joy in a fresh perspective. 5. Legacy Building: Entrusting your business to a capable manager means that your legacy lives on. Your brand and vision can continue to thrive, even as you step into new ventures or a well-deserved retirement.

In essence, overcoming the mental hurdle of control is not about letting go of your business; it's about freeing yourself to embrace new possibilities. It's the path to a more balanced, fulfilling, and profitable future.

In the next section, we'll outline practical steps to start preparing your business for a profitable exit, beginning with the empowerment of your manager.

The Path to a Profitable Exit

Hiring or Training: Weighing the Options When it comes to preparing your business for a profitable exit, one crucial decision revolves around who will step into your shoes.

Let's explore the two main options: hiring a manager externally and training an existing employee for the role.

Hiring a Manager: Pros:

  • Fresh Perspective: An external hire can bring in a fresh perspective, potentially introducing innovative ideas and strategies.

  • Specialized Skillset: You can select a manager with a specialized skill set that complements your business needs.

  • Quick Onboarding: An experienced manager may require less time to get up to speed with the operations.


  • Cost: Hiring a manager externally can be more costly in terms of recruitment, onboarding, and salary.

  • Cultural Fit: Ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture can be a challenge.

Training an Existing Employee: Pros:

  • In-depth Knowledge: An existing employee likely possesses in-depth knowledge of your company, clients, and processes.

  • Cost-Effective: Training an existing employee can be more cost-effective compared to recruiting externally.

  • Loyalty and Morale: Promoting from within can boost employee morale and show loyalty to long-term staff.


  • Learning Curve: The selected employee may require time to adapt to the new role and responsibilities.

  • Limited Skill Set: They may lack some specialized skills or experience that an external candidate might bring.

Steps to Empower a General Manager To pave the way for a seamless transition, empowering a general manager is a pivotal step.

Here's a step-by-step guide to nurture a manager for the transition: 1. Identify Potential Managers: Assess your current team to identify individuals with leadership potential, a strong work ethic, and a deep understanding of your business. 2. Provide Training and Development: Invest in their growth through training programs, workshops, and mentorship. Focus on enhancing leadership, decision-making, and operational skills. 3. Delegate Responsibilities Gradually: Start by delegating smaller responsibilities and gradually increase the complexity of tasks. Offer guidance and constructive feedback throughout this process. 4. Encourage Decision-Making: Empower your potential manager to make decisions independently. Encourage them to take the lead on projects and operational aspects of the business. 5. Foster Accountability: Hold them accountable for their decisions and actions. This fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership. 6. Offer Support and Guidance: Remain available as a mentor and advisor, providing insights and guidance when needed. Offer a safety net as they learn the ropes. 7. Evaluate Progress: Regularly assess their progress and growth. Adjust the training and empowerment plan based on their development.

By investing in a potential general manager and providing them with the necessary tools and support, you pave the way for a successful transition and a profitable exit.

In the next section, we'll delve into the importance of open communication and collaboration in this transition process.

Final Thoughts

As you stand on the threshold of transitioning your business to new hands, imagine yourself as a home seller preparing to stage your property for a potential buyer. Your business, once your pride and joy, will soon belong to another, and much like staging a home, de-personalization and decluttering are paramount for a successful sale.

Taking the First Step: The initial and perhaps most crucial step is accepting that your business will no longer be solely yours. This realization allows you to begin the essential process of de-personalizing and decluttering, streamlining your operations to make it attractive and accessible to prospective buyers.

Reiterating the Importance of a Capable Manager: We've discussed the significance of a proficient manager extensively. Their role cannot be overstated. As you contemplate your business's future, consider the steps outlined to empower a capable manager. Their competence can be a game-changer, facilitating a seamless transition that ensures the continuity and growth of your business.

Invest in Your Business’ Future: Yes, preparing your business for sale entails investment—investment in grooming a competent manager, fine-tuning operations, and optimizing financials. View this as akin to the expenses of cleaning, painting, landscaping, and staging a home before listing it on the market. These initial costs significantly enhance the value and appeal of what's being offered.

Crafting a Business Strategy with Professional Guidance: Just as a homeowner enlists the services of a professional home stager, it's equally crucial for a business owner to engage an advisor specializing in business transitions. Attempting to navigate this intricate process alone can be likened to a homeowner trying to DIY their staging and remodel work. While it's possible, the results achieved with professional guidance are incomparable.

Envision the sale of your business not merely as a transaction but as a carefully orchestrated performance where every aspect, every detail contributes to a successful closing. Embrace the assistance of an advisor, someone who can fine-tune your strategy, streamline the transition, and ensure both present and future success.

Are you Ready to Begin? Book a discovery call with me, Joseph Haecker, to delve deeper into the journey of preparing your business for a profitable exit. Together, we'll navigate the path toward a seamless transition, turning the page to the next chapter of your entrepreneurial journey.


Are you ready to take the next step?

Ready to take the first step towards a successful business transition?

Book your Introductory Zoom Session for Exit Strategy Coaching with me, Joseph Haecker. Gain insights, discuss your business aspirations, and uncover the tailored strategies to prepare your business for a profitable exit.

Let's transform your vision into a reality.

Book your session now at, and pave the way to a lucrative transition.




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