Succession planning is not a project, but an ongoing process requiring strength, resilience, and sometimes pure guts! Here are some steps to help you navigate the process of planning for the future and continued success of your business. 

  1. Develop a Vision – Affirm the concept that “the end must justify the means,” and take the first step for planning for the future of your business by developing a vision. This vision should be an inspiring and motivating mental image of what you want to see happen in the future such as: 

    • In 10 years, I want to be cruising on the Riviera while my business remains profitable! 
    • I want to build x-amount of value in my business so I can sell it by 2030 and live off the proceeds! 

Once you have developed your vision, it’s imperative you confirm your vision and express in some form or fashion to family and key managers: “Lead, follow or get out of the way because this is where ‘the succession train’ is going.” Otherwise, you will lose sight and justification of the commitment, emotions, resilience and monetary investment required to perpetuate a business through the next generation. A succession vision does not demand detail but it does demand direction and confidence. 

  1. Develop Tentative Goals – The most important characteristics of tentative goals are that they are subject to change. Expect those who have a vested interest in the continued success of your business to react to your goals with their ideas, opinions, objections, and of course, better alternatives.

  2. Make an assessment between where you vs. where you want to be. This assessment should help you answer two very important questions.

    • What are the issues that can impact the achievement of my succession goals?
    • What are the alternative courses of action that can be pursued to address the issues that are impacting the achievement of my goals? 

Engaging in the planning process forces you to work ON your business versus IN your business. This will ultimately build business value for whatever vision you have for the future! If you have the guts—you, your family, and business will be rewarded for planning for the future of your business.

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