How to Manage the Loss of a Major Player in Your Business

What are some tips for managing the difficult transition after a big player leaves your company?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. E-mail your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to

No. 1: Prepare Guides From Kelly Azevedo of She's Got Systems

Team transitions are always a challenge, but can be easier if you operate with the assumption that every team member could leave at any time. Instead of dreading transitions, prepare for them by documenting how tasks are completed, best practices and tutorials. You may not be able to quickly replace an all-star player, but these preparations will ease the transition considerably.

No. 2: Split the Difference From Danny Wong of Blank Label Group, Inc.

Since it can take weeks or months to replace a star team member, what you have to do is jot down the different things your big player did, then turn them into actionable items to be split among remaining team members. This way, work isn't halted just because one person left.

No. 3: Celebrate the Loss! From Louis Lautman of Young Entrepreneur Society

In life, you either earn or learn, and when your big player leaves your company, you're presented with an amazing opportunity to learn. You will grow far more from this experience than any amount of money that person could have earned you. Be quick to look for the lessons that you can take to implement new things into your company. Don't feel bad; feel good about what will come of this.

No. 4: Build your Bench! From Aaron Schwartz of Modify Watches

The more talented people you have in your company, the easier any transition will be. Make sure that your "big players" are always training other folks on their critical tasks, so that the team can pick up the slack when someone decides to leave.

No. 5: Don't Get Emotional From Brent Beshore of AdVentures

Take the emotion out of the equation. Figure out what it really means for your team, and just move forward. No one is completely irreplaceable, and challenges exist to teach us something. Learn the lesson and take it with you into your next step.

No. 6: Opening Up Possibilities From Erin Blaskie of BSETC

When a big player leaves, there is inevitably a large void to fill. Get your existing team excited by having conversations about how to fill that role, and allow internal team members the opportunity to take on a piece of the big player's previous job description. By giving the option to in-house team members, you'll keep excitement up and morale high and you'll quickly fill the gap.

No. 7: Who's Next?

From John Hall of Digital Talent Agents

Challenge other employees and present it as an opportunity for them to step up and prove that they can be a big player in the business. Opportunity for advancement can be one of the biggest motivators in a business.