Business Succession Plan

A Plan for Succession

WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. We’ve all felt the uncertainty at some point in our careers. What’s next for me? What happens if the company were to close? Who is taking over after our owner retires? There seems to be so much ambiguity and maybe even some assumptions. But it’s all speculation. Because no one is actually talking about it. It’s unclear and it’s frustrating. But you’re not alone. Companies every day struggle to put together a future picture. A plan for succession.

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Family Business Succession Planning

Succession planning is a process that every organization needs to be thinking about and working on throughout the lifecycle of the business. However, succession planning in a family-owned business has some unique challenges and considerations. More often than not, more than one family member is working in, invested in, or associated with the business. When your business associates are the same people you celebrate special occasions and holidays with, you need to be even more intentional about not damaging relationships in the process.

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Family Business Matters

The family business is as American as apple pie and the Fourth of July parade. Companies such as Ford, Marriott and Wal-Mart are only a handful of family-owned, corporate giants that come to mind. And although there are more than 100 million family businesses in the United States, only about 30% of family businesses survive to the 2nd generation, and 12% to the third.

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Weak Bench Strength

Working with businesses across the country, we hear a lot of talk about preparing companies for the exit of their most senior managers…but sometimes it comes with very little action. What’s up with that?

When you ask many company owners who will take over for them, they usually answer with, “I don’t know! I don’t know of anyone who is like me.” After conversations like this, the action is thinking and talking, but usually no change.

So here’s what you do…

Start hiring the right people.  Hire what you need, not replace who you have.

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Who is flying this plane?

As you’re boarding your flight, you look to your left and catch a glimpse of the Captain sitting in the cockpit. You wave and nod approvingly, and now you can rest assured that there is a Captain – and he looks competent to get you to your destination safely…phew! Your plane takes off, and now you’ve reached 30,000 feet. All of a sudden, someone comes over the intercom and says, “Do we have any doctors or nurses on board? We have a medical emergency.”

OH NO! The Captain has had a heart attack. Panic sets in. You start to fidget. Your forehead is glistening with sweat. It’s at that moment that it hits you…WHO IS FLYING THIS PLANE??? You’re waiting for the oxygen masks to drop, and you’re ready to tuck your head between your knees and brace for impact. You wish you would have paid attention to all those stupid instructions that the flight attendant went over…Where is the nearest emergency exit? Can I use my seat cushion as a flotation device? You think about every possible terrible scenario as the drama unfolds.

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