Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Start Succession Planning

Published on Sep 4, 2012


Read 'Start Succession Planning' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.

By Brooke Miller Hall

September is Healthy Aging Month, and we hope you’re the picture of good health.

Nonetheless, it’s never too early to think about succession planning for your business -- no matter how healthy you are or how many candles are on your birthday cake.

If you suddenly become hurt, sick, or worse, would your business survive? You certainly don’t want the company you’ve worked so hard to grow to end up crumbling without your leadership.

Different scenarios have different considerations. If you’re a sole proprietor, perhaps you’d like to sell the business to a partner or competitor. A third-generation family business owner might assume the next generation will take over. Or you may envision turning the reigns over to a promising employee.

But your wishes, hopes and assumptions could all be for naught if your plan isn’t solidified before your departure.

Succession planning research shows clear objectives are critical, including these well established practices to set the ground work for your plan:

  • Identify those with potential to assume greater responsibility
  • Develop potential leaders to move into key roles
  • Support your high-potential leaders
  • Document employee skills sets and potential candidates in a spread sheet to help make better staffing and leadership decisions

It’s also helpful to:

  • Improve employee commitment and retention
  • Develop existing employees
  • Encourage employees to stay with you for the long haul – which prevents knowledge/skill loss and the heavy expense of hiring and training new staff

In the second part of this series, we’ll talk about next steps in your succession planning.