Most of us (except the lawyers), think more about how to get “in” to something, than how to get out of it: How to break into a market or industry, how to get into a retailer/venue/distributor, how to get into the right partnership, relationship. How to “enter” is our predominant focus in life (because it’s usually fun), much more than how to “exit” (which is usually hard or at least less inspiring.)
But exits are just as important, and inevitable. Last week The Limited brand announced its plan to close of 250 Limited stores. You can be sure they had a deep, deliberate market penetration strategy decades ago, when they launched, and now are busy forming ways to get out of leases, liquidate merchandise, and disengage or relocate 4,000 employees. This month, some key relationships in my world are coming to a close, because the contract is over – or the reason for being has shifted. It’s strange, and hard sometimes. People and circumstances can leave their imprint on you – financially, philosophically – emotionally. But there’s so much to be learned from endings, if we allow it. The first being that other relationships may be just beginning, and in forming them, we all have to consider “what does the end look like…from ten different angles?” Because, it’s not just a contractual question – it’s a mindset that has to organize itself in a certain way – from day one.
Glory days feel never-ending. But all things change, evolve, morph – or die. Our honesty with that truth actually makes a thing better, for longer, with much more potential to repurpose – should that be possible.
It doesn’t have to be a bummer. It just has to be a plan.