Handing Over the Reins: Where to Begin with Business Succession Planning

You may realize that you need to plan for the future of your business when you are no longer able to run it, but you may not know where to start. Planning for a future that does not involve you can be both depressing and confusing, yet it can be exciting as well. You are planning for your legacy, so it important to make time for it.

Getting started with succession planning can be the most difficult part. However, starting the planning process now can help you make a much smoother transition in the future. It can also allow you to develop an emergency succession plan should the unthinkable happen.

Determine Your Needs: Begin with the End in Mind

Take some time to think about the future of your business in three to five years. What will your business look like in that time span? Are you planning on making any significant changes? Who is still going to be around in your business?

By determining where the company needs to be in three to five years, you can begin to develop the type of competencies or skills that a successful leader in your business will need. You can do the same kind of analysis several more years in the future as well.

It takes significant time and effort to groom talent to meet your future needs, so getting the developmental process started now can be extremely helpful. Preparation is key to a successful business succession.

Assess Your Candidates

Many small businesses, particularly family-owned ventures, make the mistake of assuming that employees or family members that have been around for years will automatically take the reins in the future. Talk to your potential candidates. Do they want to take over? Do they feel like they have the skills and qualifications to do what you need them to do? What type of training do they need to feel like they are a good fit?

Keep in mind that your “successor” does not have to be just one person. It can be a team of people, if that would make more sense for your company.

Testing the Waters

Continual professional development is important for your succession candidate. Make sure that the potential successor has the experience that he or she needs by gradually adding responsibilities to their role that mimic those necessary in the leadership position. This “testing” phase will allow you to spot areas where your candidate thrives as well as areas that will need work before the plan can be put into effect.

The entire process will take a significant amount of time. Starting early will allow you to find the best successor possible for the future of your business. If you would like some outside advice about appropriate succession planning for your company, contact Luis Barreto & Associates. We have the experience you need to ensure that your business legacy lives on through proper planning.

Luis E. Barreto