The biggest obstacle to the continued future success of most smaller businesses is the owner’s inability or unwillingness to plan for his or her eventual replacement. It’s the most natural thing in the world for entrepreneurs to avoid even thinking about leaving the business you started and nurtured.
It’s normal to defer difficult or unpleasant tasks. Doing nothing is a decision in itself. Get started now.
Naturally optimistic, many entrepreneurs say, “If I die,” rather than “When I die.” The fact is that you may be reaching the age when you are beginning to see more of your friends and contemporaries on the obituary pages of the newspaper. You find yourself going to more funerals than weddings. As you begin to feel less immortal, you should begin succession planning.
If you are interested in ultimately spending less and less time running your business and are equally interested in someday leaving with as much wealth as you can, then you need professional help in developing a succession plan. By putting a succession plan in writing, you are assured of communicating your hopes and dreams for the continuation of your business after you have reduced or eliminated your involvement in the day-to-day operations.
Despite the ups and downs of running a business, many business owners enjoy more control over their business than they do over their children. We recognize that it’s tough for you to think about someday walking away from your favorite child — your business.
It’s not uncommon for smaller business owners to be intimidated by the idea of sitting down with their business advisor to structure a succession plan. You’re not alone if you have difficulty delegating authority and communicating your wishes about carrying on your business after your retirement, incapacity or death. Tough Decisions – In family business succession planning, the business owner may be faced with the difficult task of choosing one from among his or her children to run the business. Others have to decide what strengths they would look for in a successor brought in from outside the company. Family Conflicts – Frequently, small business owners are overly cautious about sharing business information even with family members. Letting go is especially difficult if the family business owner doesn’t trust the judgment of his or her spouse or children.