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Navigating Succession Planning

Navigating Succession Planning: Ensuring a Smooth Transition


One of the most important things you can do for your business is to create a succession plan.

A succession plan is a roadmap for transferring ownership and control of your business to a successor. Whether that’s a family member or someone else, it’s important to start planning early, even if you’re not planning to retire anytime soon.

Benefits of succession planning

It ensures the continuity of your business.

A good succession plan will help ensure that your business continues to operate smoothly even after you are no longer involved. This is important for both the financial well-being of your business and for the employees and customers who rely on it.

Succession planning can protect your business assets.

A well-crafted succession plan can help protect your business assets from unnecessary taxes and legal entanglements. This is particularly important if you are planning to pass your business on to family members.

Provides opportunities to minimise transition costs.

Careful succession planning can help you minimise the amount you spend to sell or transfer your business. This can save you and your business a significant amount of money, which can be reinvested in your business or used in your retirement.

Prepares a smooth transition.

A smooth transition of ownership and leadership is essential for the long-term success of your business. A good succession plan will make the transition smooth and orderly, which will minimise disruption to the business.

Minimises risk.

If you don’t have a succession plan in place, your business is at risk and therefore your family’s lifestyle may also be at risk. If you were to suddenly become ill or pass away, your business may struggle to function with no one prepared to step up into leadership. Without a plan, not only will your employees, customers, and suppliers be left in the lurch, but your family members would have additional pressure added to an already extremely stressful time.

In addition to these specific benefits during the transition of your business, succession planning can also help you:

Improve your business’s performance.

By taking the time to identify and develop potential family members or other successors, you can improve the business’s performance in the long run. This is because the next generation of family members, or buyers, are better prepared and have a clear understanding of your business, making them more likely to be successful.

Attract and retain top talent.

A good succession plan can help you attract and retain top people for your business. This is because employees are more likely to want to work for a company that has a clear and well communicated plan for the future.

Succession planning is an important part of your overall business strategy and vital to securing the legacy you have built through your business. By taking the time to create a succession plan, you can help ensure the continuity of the business, protect your assets, minimise costs, and provide a smooth transition for the next business owner, whether that be a family member or business buyer.

How do you create a succession plan

There are several steps involved in creating a succession plan, so we recommend bringing in an independent party, like Johnsons MME, who has experience in business succession planning to support you. 

One of the key factors of succession planning is involving all relevant parties from the start. At Johnsons MME, we understand that succession planning can be a complex and emotional process, but we believe that good planning can alleviate uncertainty and ensure a smooth transition.

We work with you to identify your needs and match them with your business objectives. We then develop a succession plan that is achievable, realistic, and tailored to your specific situation.

Our goal is to help you achieve your long-term goals with the least amount of stress.

Some of the steps we will work through with you and your family include:

1. Identify potential successors

It’s important to think about who you would want to take over your business. Consider your family members, employees, or business partners. You may also want to consider hiring an outside manager with the goal of eventually buying the business or selling your business to a third party.

2. Assess their skills and abilities.

Once you have identified who your potential successors are, take some time to assess their skills and abilities. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Are they a good fit for your business and/or industry? Is there a skills gap? What is their experience? What are their goals for the business?

3. Develop their skills and abilities.

If your potential successors need additional training or development, provide opportunities for learning. This could involve sending them to workshops or courses, providing a mentor or giving them opportunities to shadow you or other senior employees.

4. Create a timeline for the transition.

When do you plan to retire or step down from your business? How much time will you need to give your successor to prepare?

5. Prepare a financial plan.

A financial plan will help you determine how much money you need to retire comfortably and how you can best transfer your business assets to your successor. Your financial plan should include an assessment of your current financial situation, projections for your future financial needs, and a strategy for transferring your assets. We highly recommend engaging our expert financial advisory team to support developing your financial plan.

6. Document your succession plan.

Once you have your succession plan in place, be sure to document it so that everyone involved is clear on the process. Your succession plan should include, as a minimum, a timeline for the transition, a financial plan, and a plan for training and developing your successor. You should also make sure to include provisions for dealing with unexpected events, such as your own illness or death.

7. Communicate your succession plan to your stakeholders.

Once you have a succession plan in place, it’s important to communicate it to your family, employees, customers, and suppliers. This will help to ensure a smooth transition when the time comes.


Ensure a smooth transition

Succession planning is an important part of any business owner’s plan for the future. By taking the time to create a succession plan, you can help ensure the continuity of the business and protect your hard-earned assets.

If you need help navigating the succession planning process, contact your adviser at Johnsons MME. We can help you create a succession plan that meets the specific needs of you, your family, and your business.