Beginning a new project can sometimes give you the most euphoric sense of adventure. You are starting something new, fresh, ambitious and with passion. You begin to setup your vision board, milestone tracker and develop a plan to launch your idea followed by you leaping into solving every hard-challenging question to make your dream a reality.
However, there are times when that project that we've painstakingly poured all of our heart into is not panning out and has ran its course. You have made the gut-wrenching decision that even if you gave 200% effort to your project -it isn't the right project or it's no longer the problem you want to solve. You may be wondering, how in the world do I wind down this project? Every time we launch a project, we build a good amount of 'stuff'. The list of stuff can include websites, products, dedicated resources, social channels and operations behind to get it up and running. And often it could even leave you in debt.
If you have a mentor with this kind of experience, we are all in awe, you are one of the lucky ones as you have someone to guide you through what can be quite a jarring experience. But if not, no fear, you'll just have to do a little more research and rest assured, the list below can get you started to build the plan you need to be successful.
The "Winddown" List
First thing you want to do to make a list of all the reoccurring payments, accounts, social channels, events, shipments and overall activity of your business. You would be surprised at all of the items you have built over the course of your project. The list will help guide you on prioritizing the next actions that you need to make in order to wrap up your project neatly.
The "Thank You Tour"
When you launch your project you did it with passion, hope and adventure. I encourage you to use the same sentiments when closing your project.
You most likely will have a minimum of 3 different communication notes to all investors, staff, support and clients. Remember to remain professional and include dates of when final events happen including meetings, action plans, services, or production. A communication note should have four main points. 1) Thank them for their support 2) Why you are choosing to end the project/business 3) What they can expect from their services or products and if it will be impacted 4) What you've learn and will seek to pursue.
Finally, I always like to close with ANOTHER thank you, the community that supported you in this venture most likely will follow you to the next if you treat them with care, respect and transparency. Never burn bridges and keep the lines of communication open.
Save Your Relationships/Network
So for the time you've worked on your project you have built up an amazing list to email and sell to. Make sure you keep that list - it will come in handy when you launch your next venture. Never throw away a great list even if you think you're focusing on an entirely different user group/market. It's possible that you can find customers out of your old list for your new project.
Fulfill Last Orders
One of the most frustrating experiences I've ever received was being a customer of an amazing bag company and becoming a fan just before it went under. Not only did I not get my bag, they took a full year to refund my money. Sometimes companies don't have enough product to fulfill last orders and have to refund money, try to remain committed to your word as much as possible. It's important for your community to always expect you to deliver and if not, be transparent upfront. Remember it can take a lifetime to build trust and one day to tear it down.
Journal Lasting Memories
One of the must do actions is to journal about your experience. You should write down the highs, lows, key takeaways, "perceived failures", gains that you've experienced from this venture. You never fail if you are continuously learning. Build a journal that you can refer to with case studies that you've learned from and are personal to you. This will make you a better leader, remain empathetic and sharpen your perspective to remain optimistic.
Every entrepreneur will feel some disappointment in their career. It’s been said, it takes an average of seven launched companies before any entrepreneur is successful at launching a company. So, count this one step closer to your victory!
Until next post, Stay #femalefueled!