Why endings are hard in business?
Endings in business are a bit like breaking up with someone.
You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into a relationship, but for one reason or another, it just isn’t working out. Maybe you’ve grown apart, or maybe you just can’t stand the way they chew their food. Either way, it’s time to end things. And just like with relationships, endings in business can feel really shitty.
First of all, there’s the emotional aspect. You’ve built up a rapport with your colleagues or clients, and that’s not to mention the identity that comes with being the leader of that business, and so saying goodbye to all of that can be tough. You might feel guilty, sad, or even angry….or all of those things. And thats without any potential backlash from those directly or indirectly impacted by it. People can get defensive, or they might lash out, or do other things which seem a bit insensitive. They might even try to convince you to stay, promising to change or offering you more money…and then that makes you second guess your decision to end things.
At the start of this month I made the difficult announcement that I would be closing my business too Fat to Run, and it feels like torture. It hadn’t been working as a business for many years. The pandemic was the final nail in its coffin, and still I kept it going, hoping it would change, hoping I could rescue it, but I couldn’t…I had to let it go, for my own sanity.
Aside from the emotional stuff, there’s also the practical aspect of endings in business. You might have to tie up loose ends, finish projects, or transfer knowledge to someone else. And just like with a breakup, these tasks can be time-consuming, awkward, and even painful. You might have to have difficult conversations, or deal with people who are upset or confused.
Part of my reason for closing Too Fat to Run was I have recently been made redundant from a full time job which paid all the bills, and so while my bills were being paid, I could spend a few hours a week on the “side business” without it needing to make me any money, but without that security, it became just another thing I had to spend time, energy and money on keeping going.
Letting go of that business is a symbolic move to free up energy for my new thing….but in the meantime while I try to get my feet back on solid ground, its just fucking hard.
I guess the biggest reason why endings in business are so difficult is because of the unknown…what if this is the wrong decision? What if this next move doesn’t work either? When you break up with someone, you might wonder if you’ll ever find love again….will anyone fancy you? Is there anyone out there even looking to get involved in that way with you? Will your next project be as fulfilling as the one you’re leaving behind? The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, and it can make it hard to take that first step.
But we must.
Otherwise we stay in things for much longer than we should, maybe even forever, even when they hurt us.
I set up the blog that preceded the business in 2010…13 years ago, the business itself (the bit where it became my livelihood as a single mum) is just shy of its 10th birthday. That is long enough. The world is not the same as it was a decade ago, neither am I as its owner, nor is the industry. What I was doing a decade ago with this business was unique, so much so I got slots on major TV channels with my work…now everyone and their dog is doing plus size fitness and inclusivity.
So I am choosing to draw a line under it.
To know I have done all I can with it.
And so I take the lessons, the learnings, and the growth that that business gave me along to the next part of my business journey.
Wishing everyone who has ever been part of it the best in their endeavors also.
There is so much to celebrate.
And so to summarise….
Endings can be liberating, especially when we acknowledge that they’re difficult, when we allow ourselves to grieve. We can give ourselves permission to feel whatever emotions come up, and we can recognize that it’s okay to be afraid of the unknown. We can also be kind to ourselves and to others. We can try to end things on a positive note (even if that doesn’t happen completely), and we can express gratitude for the time and effort that was put in.
Ultimately, endings in business are difficult because they require us to let go of something that was once important to us. But they’re also an opportunity for growth and change.
And who knows? Maybe your next relationship or project will be even better than the one you’re leaving behind.
Join me for a fun and uplifting decluttering challenge.
Whatever it is you need to let go of, we will tackle it…and all for the grand old price of £21
Julie Creffield is a business growth and transformation strategist with more than 20 years experience of enabling change for organisations and individuals. She is an award winning international speaker, author of 12 books, and serial entrepreneur on a mission to show how exponential change is not only possible…but the only way to really get anywhere in life
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