Importance of succession planning in family business

  • 30.01.2019

You may want your first-born son to run the business, but does he have the business skills or even the interest to do it? Perhaps there's another family member who is more capable. It may even be that there are no family members capable of or interested in continuing the business and that it would be best to sell it.

Examine the strengths of all possible successors as objectively as possible and think about what's best for the business. While this is a nice idea in theory, it may not be in the best interests of your business.

Remember that management and ownership are separate business succession planning issues. It may be fairer for the successor s you have chosen to run the business to have a larger share of business ownership than family members not active in the business.

Another alternative is to use voting and non-voting shares so that only some of the family shareholders can make decisions on company policy.

Or it may be best to transfer both management and ownership to your chosen successor and make other financial arrangements to benefit your other children. How can you expect your successor to take over and run your business successfully if you haven't spent any time training him or her? These steps might be better seen as points on a circle, each one connected to all of the others.

However, there is logic to the order of these seven steps. We believe the true starting point should be your needs and those of your spouse. When you have a clear idea of what you want, then it makes sense to broaden the discussion out to include the desires of the rest of your family.

What will it take financially to live your dream? Do you want to keep the business in the family? Is the business positioned for long-term viability and succession? This cash could provide her with the security she needs to support the family going forward. What if John is a co-owner of the business with his sister, Susan. John is the sales manager and Susan is the operations manager. But what happens to ownership if one dies? Susan could step in and manage the sales and operations until she is able to hire a new sales manager.

There is an inherent tension between Susan, as the business owner and employee, and Judy, as the business owner not involved in the business. The company in the past has not paid any dividends to John and Susan; they have taken all earnings from the company as salary. If John and Susan engage in business succession planning, they could avoid these potential problems. They could purchase life insurance on each other to provide the necessary cash to follow through with the buy-sell agreement.

Otherwise, it could jeopardize the continuity of the business while leaving less value for beneficiaries to inherit. Perhaps children or other family members are to continue the business. With income, gift, and potential estate taxes, careful planning is required to transition it over to the next generation or there may be less value for beneficiaries to inherit than originally intended. Ensuring business continuity with the smallest possible tax consequences is key.

Appointing a formal successor also helps give peace of mind while running the business. The owner will have taken the time out to carefully select the successor and can rest assured it will be in good hands when they leave. Creating the plan well in advance gives plenty of time to train the successor on the day to day duties and larger concerns regarding the business, introduce them to key customers or suppliers, or acquire new skills sets such as people management and inter-personnel skills.

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Competitors competition may also take advantage of this and steal away current customers, reducing the value of the company before it can be sold. When you have a clear idea of what you want, then it makes sense to broaden the discussion out to include the desires of the rest of your family. If they fail to plan, the asphalt paving business could be thrown into disarray when John dies. What if my business partner dies? Involve your family in the succession planning process. Always Plain English. Your family business succession planning will have a much better chance of success if you work with your successor s for a year or two before you hand over the reins. A small business owner may decide to transfer equal ownership in the business to all of his or her children, even though only one child is involved in and manages the business. Is anyone within the next generation equipped to be a leader?
Importance of succession planning in family business
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For information on selling or closing your business see:. Is the business positioned for long-term viability and succession? You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances. Instead of trying to put a square peg in a round hole, planning ahead allows the successor to have enough time to test the position, learn from the current owner, and to experience a preview of what their in store for when they take over. Learn to Delegate Godwin points to delegation as one of the most important abilities of a founder who is prepared to eventually transition their business over to a family member. Unless you've got a good team, you can't do much with the other two.
Importance of succession planning in family business
The Role of Communication in Succession Planning You might be tempted to bring all parties together at once, but be cautious about rushing into that too soon. There are few things as devastating as watching a business fail that you worked so hard to build. But if you own a family business, retirement isn't just a matter of deciding not to go into the office any more.

The Importance of Family Business Succession Planning

Attorney Mark Planning. Why is succession important to start considering a business business plan best online resume writing service healthcare your business? A Succession Plan controls future ownership and management transfers to different groups or designated transferees. What is considered a family business? It is an importance owned and controlled by one or more families who plan family succeeding generations continuing to own and manage the business. The strength of the family business is independence, accomplishment and income for the family. For small family businesses, every customer relationship is important. Preparing to Plan Make Things Happen has developed a process designed to help family business owners address all of the key personal, family and business issues underlying an effective succession plan. Group discussions. With family businesses, succession planning can be especially complicated because of the relationships and emotions involved - and because most people are not that comfortable discussing topics such as aging, death, and their financial affairs.

Family Business Succession Planning Needs to Start Early

It may be sufficient in some families to simply communicate the latest happenings of the business through a quarterly meeting, newsletter or conference call. Could the business survive your untimely death or disability? Here are seven reasons to start planning for succession in your family business starting today. Preparing to Plan Make Things Happen has developed a process designed to help family business owners address all of the key personal, family and business issues underlying an effective succession plan. Stories about how much someone enjoyed or loved him provides a wonderful connection and historical account of their experience with my father and our company in the past.
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Preparing to Plan

When it comes to planning, or not planning for succession in a family business, Jonathan Godwin says, "You're making a conscious business decision if the business will live on or die. A good succession plan can ensure that you have the funds you need to retire and that the business you have built continues to thrive in the hands of the next generation. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. John is the main salesperson with all of the business contacts.
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Importance of succession planning in family business
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Maintain Customer and Partner Relationships A long delay in leadership or a messy transition can impact your customers. My father was well respected and had a great reputation. Sooner or later, everyone wants to retire. Make sure all involved parties are clear about what is going to happen next on the succession front. Five years in advance is good.