Many business owners are tempted to put off business succession planning, focusing on their business’ immediate needs more than issues that are thought to be far off. Business owners, however, shouldn’t delay creating succession plans. If you own a business, it’s probably wise to start creating a succession plan for your business sooner rather than later. Here’s why.
When's the Right Time to Talk with Someone About Business Succession Planning for My Business?
You Never Know When Something Might Happen
First and foremost, you never know when something that forces a change in your business’ ownership or management might happen. Business succession planning is sometimes viewed as an issue that only older business owners nearing retirement have to consider. Any business owner could suffer a life-altering accident, have a significant change in their family situation, or pass away, though. Creating a succession plan is an important way to prepare for unlikely, but possible, events like these.
You’ll Want Time to Consider Big Questions
Drafting a business succession plan involves answering big questions. For instance, you may need to decide which family member(s) to pass your business on to. Alternatively, you might have to figure out how to leave the venture you’ve invested so much in with a new owner you don’t know. Considerations like these require objectively assessing people’s (possibly including family members’) abilities and qualifications, and it forces you to prioritize your values.
Going through this is often highly emotional, and many people would prefer to avoid these questions. It’s usually better to start the succession planning process and not avoid it, tough. Beginning the process may be difficult initially, but it’ll provide you with more time to think about these issues and process the emotions that arise.
Other People May Need to Be Involved
Succession planning frequently involves other people, whether they be family members, friends, fellow owners, investors, or competitors. The more people are involved, the more time creating a plan will take. Not only do documents need to be coordinated between people, but each person will have their own big questions to take into consideration.
Beginning to create a succession plan sooner rather than later will help ensure everyone has the time they need for the process. It’ll both give everyone involved an opportunity to work through their own big questions, and ensure they can consider those questions at a time when they aren’t pressed with other matters.
Business Succession Planning Can Be an Ongoing Conversation
Broaching the topic of succession planning doesn’t mean the discussion will draw to a close in a few weeks, months or even years. Instead, it can serve as the opening of an ongoing conversation. The people involved can return to the topic of succession planning as needed.
Learn About the Options Available for Your Business
Finally, the best way to learn about succession planning is to talk about it. Many business owners aren’t familiar with all of the options available or how to set up the type of succession plan they’d like. If you’d like to learn more about how your business can be passed on, asking questions is a great way to find out.
If you don’t know who to ask, seek the help of a business succession planning advisor who serves business. A professional who has helped other businesses in the state set up plans will be able to walk you through the process of creating a succession plan for your business. They'll be able to help you start asking the right questions – and finding the right answers.