Engaging in the succession planning process can be a daunting task. Being transparent, identifying current and potential issues and developing a plan for the greater good of the business and family requires substantial energy. To add further complexity to this process, getting family and key managers to mutually come together for a shared purpose can seem impossible at times. However, you have decided in order to reach your objective, you’ll need help. So, who should be on your team?  

The right succession planning team proactively (not reactively) attacks problems and helps move you towards your long-term goals, while working to create a win-win for all parties. The big question many business owners have is, “How do I find qualified advisors?”

Well, you find the right team by identifying advisors willing to get into the weeds with you. The ones who won’t run from the hard issues but embrace and tackle them. Advisors who instill confidence in you and your family-leadership team that “together we will figure this out”. Furthermore, a succession planning team needs to be focused on reliance upon each other. Your CPA is not your legal advisor, and your attorney is not your insurance provider. Each specialty has a legitimate place at the table, and can be instrumental in getting you to your goal as long as each respects the input of other team members .

Critical to your team is a succession planner who can assess your current environment, identify the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be (both in regards to family and business), and create a succession plan to make your vision a reality. Most importantly, you need to look for a planner who is Proactive, not Reactive. You need an advisor who is not afraid to ask the hard questions, engage the problem family member/manager, and challenge the status quo.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I cannot reiterate enough the need for proactive planning. The essence of competent succession planners is their ability to identify and recruit the additional key players needed for your succession planning dream team.  And there are many players: attorneys (estate, corporate, real estate, human resources, etc.); accountants (personal and professional); insurance planners (personal liquidity, employee benefits, building and liability providers); investment advisors; 401k representatives; strategic planners; management specialists; etc. A proactive succession planner will rally the troops for you, make sure progress is always being made, and handle small issues before they become big problems.  

 Feel free to contact me with any questions about building your succession planning team.

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