How’s Your Succession Planning Coming?

Are you starting to think, ‘What will happen next in my business?’ 

Whether you’ve been running the business a long time and you’re ready for something new, or you’re getting older and it’s nearing the big R, retirement, or for some other reason, considering succession is something that most business owners begin to do even at an early age in the business. 

Voluntary v Involuntary Succession

The truth about succession is that it will, absolutely and without a doubt, occur in your business.  It will either happen as a surprise to you, coming without warning as the result of several factors in your life, or you will plan and prepare for it and move out of the business smoothly and quietly.

Sadly, for most business owners, it comes without warning. That’s what’s called an “involuntary succession”, and it refers to those successions as a result of death, divorce, illness, competition, or a divergence of opinion amongst business owners. 

“Voluntary succession”, on the other hand, is what is desired by all business owners.  You get to choose the time, the place, even the price and worth of your business, and you go off into the sunset with a big bag of gold coins at your side. 

To make sure you get your sunset and gold coins (and you’re not sitting in the desert with an empty bag, no horse, and no water), we’ve got a few thoughts for you on proper succession planning.

Avoiding Succession Planning

Some of us avoid the thought of succession like the plague.  This can be a result of:

  • Fear of losing what you’ve worked so hard for
  • A fear of losing control, knowing that someone else won’t manage it like you will
  • Having strong opinions and not wanting to listen to outside advice
  • An desire to avoid conflict and just get along with your business partners and team members
  • A fear of family conflict (a very real fear for many family owned businesses)
  • A vague sense that everything will work itself out somehow
  • Forgetting that life can change in an instant, and presuming that everything will go on as it has been for the last few years

Ask Yourself The Hard Succession Planning Questions

If any of the above apply, we’d strongly encourage you to start asking yourself some of the hard questions:

  • What do I really want in life?
  • How important is it to keep the business in the family?
  • Do I know how much I need financially for the foreseeable future?
  • Do I want completely out, or do I want to “partly retire”?  How long will this last?
  • Am I willing for others to begin to ‘call the shots’, including things like renaming, rebranding, changing the core products, or selling the business again?
  • How important are my employees? Do I need to protect their roles?

These are indeed very tough questions – they’re tough because we know deep down that no one in the world is exactly like us, so if we leave, things will change.  And as human beings, we’re constantly working as hard as possible to avoid change in our lives.  We want routine. Consistency.  A feeling of knowing how life is going to go and what’s going to happen to us.

Don’t Let Succession Surprise You

But of course we know down deep that life is constantly full of surprises.  So we’re just here to remind you of that – and to reassure you that we’re here every step of the way.  Whether succession is a vague idea you know you need to give further thought to, or whether you’re in the middle of a nasty surprise life has handed you, come talk to us. 

And join our upcoming webinar on Succession Planning. We’ll be covering all this and more, and what you can do next!

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