Getting into the world of business is a meticulous task, but so is getting out of it.
Whether you just started your business or you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, it is always a good idea to have an exit strategy.
Below, we’ve answered a few questions you may have about planning your business succession strategy.
- Who do I talk to about succession planning?
First, talk to your key advisors, including bankers and financial partners, your accountant and lawyers. If your company has an advisory board, you should consult them as well. Determining how to go about the transition requires careful planning; depending on how you choose to go about your business succession plan, you may decide to hire a specialist or a consultant
- Who should I choose to be my successor?
There are a few ways to go about this; however, it will ultimately be your personal choice. You may pass your business on to a family member or to your top executives or managers. You may also choose to sell it to an outsider. Whichever path you choose, you can decide how much you want to be involved in the business after you pass it on; that is, if you want to be involved at all.
- When should I inform my successor about my plans?
While a surprise inheritance may be heartwarming, it is not the same when it comes to inheriting a business. Getting a successor ready—whether it’s a family member or someone from your company—requires careful planning and training. As soon as you’ve chosen a successor, it is best to get started on training, which includes helping them equip themselves with the skills, knowledge and qualifications necessary to run your business.
- How do I plan the transition itself?
The transition will be two-fold—transferring ownership and handing over the business, itself. As far as transferring ownership is concerned, you will need to consider legal and financial details. These include valuation, financing, and taxation. You also need to consider whether you wish to keep your current legal structure (corporation, sole proprietor, partnership, etc.) or if you (or your successor) would like to change it.
You also need to plan how to prepare various stakeholders for the transition. How will you prepare your customers, clients, and employees? What would be their level of involvement? Make sure that you put different strategies in place to ensure transparency and consistency in communicating changes to your business, especially when it is something as drastic as succession.
- Now that I have a business succession plan ready, can I go back to business as usual?
Not really. Your business and your clients’ needs may change over time. This means that you need to review and adjust your plan as your business evolves.