Small business is a bit like a family.
We probably spend almost as much time with our work colleagues as we do with our real families - often in a crowded office, working (hopefully) towards the same goals, sharing successes and less successful moments and occasionally falling out
So as a business owner when someone decides to leave it can get emotional. Of course it happens. Of course people are entitled to do what is best for them. But that doesn't make it any easier. Someone has worked for you for many years, you have tried to develop and nurture them and they are liked by everyone in the team. You didn't see it coming.
In a big corporate if someone leaves there is no drama. HR step in, plans are made, vacancies are advertised, agencies are notified. The leaver is patted on the back and leaving drinks are planned. The business quickly moves on and the gap is filled.
In a small business one person leaving might be 20% or 10% of the workforce. Replacing that individual is often costly and time consuming. They know your values, ways of working and your customers know and like them. The business owner who may have stepped back a little and is enjoying more free time outside the business may need to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in again. It's not easy
But it can also be an opportunity. A good time to restructure and reenergise the business by bringing on other team members or bringing in new talent. When I look back at times we have lost 'key' people over the years, after the initial change and disruption, the business has kicked on and ended up in a better place than before. It can be a spur to fix underlying issues which may have been a trigger for this individual deciding to leave.
I guess it's the emotional cycle of change - shock, hurt and disappointment are often the initial feelings. In time (and it may be weeks, months or even years later) there may come a gradual feeling of acceptance that it was all for the best.