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  • What’s in Your Future? How to Develop a Succession Plan for Your Business

    What’s in Your Future? How to Develop a Succession Plan for Your Business

    Posted January 14, 2020 By in In the News

    When your CEO retires or your organization is caught off-guard by sudden illness or the death of an executive member, what’s next? Who will take the helm and keep the ship steered in the right direction? What’s your plan? 

    Building and maintaining a thriving business often requires the ability to make difficult decisions and the willingness to have uncomfortable conversations. In corporate America, succession planning happens every day by HR execs and leaders who look at the org chart on a daily basis, and are constantly moving chess pieces around the corporation.  

    In our experience, this does not hold true for family-owned businesses. Most small business owners we work with aren’t chomping at the bit to have a discussion about succession planning, but it should not be ignored.  

    No matter the size of your company, succession planning should be a cultural aspect of the business, says succession planning expert, Elle Hansen. Grooming successors should be part of the job description at every level. For a family-owned business, getting that plan in place before a major shake-up within the organization occurs will shape the future of your organization, your family, and your legacy.  

    Consider it much like preventative medicine, rather than emergency treatment. Planning ahead can make all the difference should your company experience a death in the family, a separation of thoughts or direction, or some other catastrophic event. Still, most family-owned businesses don’t do the prep work in advance, so they’re instead forced to make these decisions without the time to put adequate thought into their plan. 

    These conversations can often be emotionally charged and should take place with the help of an experienced succession planning mentor. We have found that many small or family-owned businesses aren’t doing the work of succession planning because they don’t have HR leadership to help them.  

    Don’t back yourself into a corner where you’re forced to make these difficult, business-critical decisions in a moment of crisis. Here are succession planning tips every business owner should keep in mind. 

    1. The time is NOW. Whether your business is five years old or fifty, if you don’t have a succession plan in place, start working on one now.  
    2. Succession is a process, not an event. It takes months, often years to develop a succession plan, make a succession announcement and pass the torch of responsibility and authority to the next leader of your business. It takes time for everyone within a company, from the leadership to employees, to adjust to the idea of change.  
    3. Have a mindset of growth. Planning for succession throughout your company means you are growth-minded. A common misperception is that there is a low ceiling in family-owned businesses. When you establish a line of succession, you’re giving everyone within the company motivation to climb the ladder.  
    4. Consider your vision first. As the business owner or leader of the company, what is your vision for the future of your organization in five, ten or twenty years? If you are considering a family member to take over your position, is that individual ready to take the helm? Do they have the knowledge, training and experience necessary to carry out your vision for your company? Do they want the top job? 
    5. Know your needs. What skillset is needed to help propel your business into the future? Have a clear understanding of the personality and skills required to lead your organization through future challenges. Sometimes this means looking outside the family to find an individual with the right mix of personality and skill to take your business into the future. Linked Exec understands the intricate dynamics of a family business and can help you find the person best suited for the family and the position.  
    6. Engage with a trained succession planning expert. Get a pro on your side to help start the discussion and put a plan in place. At Linked Exec, we have a long-standing partnership with Elle Hansen and her succession planning firm, Regeneration. Working with a succession planning expert is especially beneficial for family-owned businesses. From establishing a timeline of succession, to preparing the current leader for a new role, to transferring the knowledge and leadership to the individual you’ve chosen to carry on your business, let an expert help you thoughtfully navigate your way to greater peace of mind and confident clarity about your future. 

    We understand that succession planning within a family business can be a very sensitive and emotional process for all parties involved and it is our goal to ensure the process sets your business up for success in the future. Contact us today to learn more about our services, and let us connect you with Elle Hansen and Regeneration to walk you through the succession planning process. 

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