My firm is being taken over by a private equity-backed fund. We are young and have grown very quickly. It has been great fun but I wonder whether I am able to face what comes next – I imagine we will have to cut costs and begin removing people. If I left now, I could start my own business or take my time over my next role. But I also don’t want to bail out on my team.
Your first job is to work out your genuine career goals and get your CV in order. This is a time of change and, as you have identified, that presents an opportunity to head in a new direction as well as a risk.
It is reasonable to assume things won’t be so ‘fun’ any more as the business takes on a very different operating rhythm. In a worst-case scenario, you would have to justify your position or even reapply for it. But you can’t know what will happen, so listen to your new owners with an open mind and then make a decision.
You can help your team with this transition without making it a major factor in your choice. The most important thing is to know where you want to take your own career. There’s no harm in keeping an eye on the job market regardless of your situation, and you might find an exciting new opportunity is just around the corner.
On the other hand, starting a new business is a tough route but can also be rewarding. The key is to do your market research. Find out what your potential customers want, who else is providing it and how you can stand out in the market. Make this the foundation of your business plan and map out the best and worst-case financial scenarios. That way you will know if you can live with the risk that inevitably comes with a start-up.