Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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The Life Cycle of a Business

Every relationship has a life cycle. When you are really lucky, that life cycle lasts forever.

However, some life cycle end before we are ready to let them go.

A business life cycle is like any other relationship in terms of supporting and enhancing those involved. When you pour your heart and soul into a business, like a personal relationship, it can be devastating when it ends. You spend years of time, money, and resources to create an entity that contributes to the well being of the lives of those around you and those you serve. It is hard to watch your life’s dream overtaken by external circumstances and a changing market.

Imagine having all of your investments in 8 track tapes. Markets change.

Truth is, it is wise to know when it is time to close the doors and move on to new opportunities.

However, ending any business means shifting long-term relationships with customers, clients, suppliers, the network of buyers, as well as your trusted friends and partners. Change can be difficult and frightening for many people. But not evolving means certain stagnation. (And who wants that?)

Ending the business or losing a job means “not knowing” in your life. “Not knowing is a state of grace” according to Thich Nhat Hanh. A glass that is already full has no space for anything new.

When you end a personal relationship, people understand that you are lonely, in need of support, and in need of new opportunities to meet other people. Starting a new business or looking for a new job is much the same.

Here are our three suggestions for how to bungee jump to your next great opportunity:
1. Get clear about who you are, what gifts you bring to the table, and the causes that fuel your passion. This is a great time to focus on doing what you really want to do.
2. Engender support. Reach out to your network of friends, colleagues, and associates, and ask them how you can be of help to them and their passions.
3. Be open to exploring new ideas and business options. Think outside of traditional roles and functions. Stretch your competencies by learning a new skill or business application, or by joining groups that stimulate your creative thinking beyond the typical standard for your industry.

Just a note, remember, five years ago, there were no blogs.

By Mary Kelly, PhD ( with Carolyn Strauss (


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