A Strategically Structured Outline For Business Succession Planning

Here’s a guest post on a topic near and dear to my heart: succession planning. This is one area that small and medium business owners could benefit from being more like technology companies. Technology companies begin discussing exit strategies early on, in order to interest investors. The sooner you think exit strategy, the sooner you begin preparing your company for the next phase. Read on for more insights. – TW

 

Succession planning is crucial for the continuity of any long term business.

A Strategically Structured Outline For Business Succession Planning

By Glenn Ebersole

One of the major questions I ask business owners is: “Do you have a succession plan or exit strategy for your business?” I also ask employees: “Do you know if a succession plan or exit strategy exists in your company or organization?” You may be surprised to know that in my experience more than 90% tell me they have no succession plan or exit strategy. A 2004 CIBC Small Business Outlook Poll (conducted by Decima Research), indicated that 39% of small business owners plan to sell their business and 15% plan to have a family member take over. Yet, two-thirds (67%( of the entrepreneurs polled stated that they had not yet broached the subject of who will take over the company. To me that result is very telling and frankly is a motivator for writing this article.

Succession planning is a critical factor for the long-term success of any business. Leadership transitions in business affect the entire organization’s continuity, employee retention, client retention and returns on investment. It is essential to create and implement a process that creates visibility, accountability and greater integration of all facets of the business.

In another article, Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach provided seven (7) strategic actions to take to strategically structure a succession planning process. Those seven (7) strategic actions are:

Strategic Action #1: Begin the succession planning process early.

Strategic Action #2: Clearly determine and communicate the purpose, goals, and extent of the leadership succession plan or program.

Strategic Action #3: Clearly define the desired and required qualities of the new leader.

Strategic Action #4: Develop a clearly focused leadership development strategy.

Strategic Action #5: Develop a talent management process that will incorporate strategic thinking for specific development opportunities for future leaders.

Strategic Action #6: Identify future leadership candidates by developing a system for assessing current and future leadership needs.

Strategic Action #7: Identify a system for communicating information to ensure that the leadership succession and/or development programs are in line with strategic business needs.

After developing the list of strategic actions, it was important to develop an overall outline to present the strategically structured succession planning elements. That outline is as follows:

STRATEGICALLY STRUCTURED SUCCESSION PLAN OUTLINE

I. GOALS & OBJECTIVES

Develop a vision statement for your business

Develop a mission statement for your business

Develop a list of your core values & guiding principles

Develop short & long term goals for your business

Identify the stakeholders for your business

Develop your personal vision

Develop your personal goals

Develop your retirement goals

Create a team of advisors for your succession planning effort

Establish the need for a succession plan

II. EXIT STRATEGY

Develop options for your exit from your business

Review the developed options for your exit from the business

Select your option for your exit strategy

III. BUSINESS VALUATION

Obtain professional advice to determine the value of your business

Determine the value of your business

Determine a current value of your business assets & liabilities

Determine the goodwill value of your business

IV. BUSINESS STRUCTURE

Identify and quantify your business debt

Recruit & retain productive employees

Structure business to maximize value

Document key processes & procedures used in your business

V. TAX CONSIDERATIONS

Develop financial goals

Identify tax implications of your current business

Plan & implement tax strategy to minimize your taxes

VI. LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

Retain professional legal counsel

Develop a buy-sell agreement for your business

VII. ESTATE PLANS

Retain a professional estate planning advisor

Develop an estate plan

VIII. SUCCESSOR SELECTION

Develop specific criteria for your successor

Recruit & select successor based upon your criteria

Communicate selection of successor to your stakeholders

IX. SUCCESSOR TRAINING

Develop a list of characteristics and skills needed by your successor

Develop a training plan for your successor

Develop a coaching/mentoring plan for your successor

Establish a timeline for your successor plan

X. CONTINGENCY PLAN

Develop a contingency plan (based on the “What Ifs?”)

Research & identify insurance needs (disability; personal life; critical illness; business; key person; etc.)

Select & train a key employee to take over in case of emergency or unforeseen event

Communicate your plan to stakeholders & advisors

XI. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

Document the roles, responsibilities & expectations concerning the transition of ownership

Identify a facilitator to make sure the process of succession is carried out

XII. TIMELINES

Identify your timeline for the management transition

Identify your timeline for transition of ownership of your business

Identify your timeline for your complete exit from your business

XIII. COMMUNICATION

Document the succession plan

Document how to proceed with the succession plan in the event of an unforeseen event (accident, illness, death)

Document the transition or exit strategy to inform family, employees, clients, vendors, community & all stakeholders

Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, ?Glenn?s Guiding Lines ? Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach? and has published more than 300 articles on business.

To find out more about the benefits & rewards of effectively working with a strategic thinking business coach, please contact Glenn Ebersole through his web site at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or jgecoach@aol.com

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