Business Succession Planning: Your Business Without You

Chloe Copple, Business Exit Planning Advisor

Take your mind where it doesn’t want to go: tragedy. A chronic illness. A freak accident. A divorce.  A falling out with a business partner. A heartbreaking loss that turns your world upside down.

For some reason, you are no longer a part of the everyday business picture. Is the house on fire? Here are some questions to answer when we think about the unthinkable.

Are your systems documented?

Will the business go on? Documenting your mundane responsibilities (the ones like payroll that you’ve been doing for decades) and identifying someone to take on these responsibilities in your absence is one key step to enabling business continuity.

Is someone ready to lead?

Have you entrusted them with enough responsibility to give them confidence in their new role? Does your company have clarity on culture and company values? Identifying that person, and telling them so (not to mention, getting the formalized documents in place to transition the business) is a necessary step to protect your business. Moreover, this will provide you and your family a plan and the liquidity to move on outside of the business.

Are the people you love taken care of?

Will your husband or wife be left as sole, majority, or minority owner of your business, wanting nothing to do with it? Is your family dependent on your income and the business to maintain their livelihood? If they are, you may consider diversifying your income stream, documenting a clear succession plan, and revisiting your long-term financial plan to see if it aligns with or without your business plan.

These are big questions. And their answers are likely not black and white.

They may be…

  • “Well, yes, most of our systems are documented.”
  • “There is someone I have in mind, but he/she…”
  • “They’ll be taken care of and we have a plan. But I’m more worried about…”

If these questions are unsettling, you’re not alone. According to the 2021 Family Business Survey, only one-third of businesses have a written succession plan in place. Once again, these are daunting questions and can be best approached with a seasoned planner that can break each part down into segments that align with your overall personal plan and values.

Take the first step and reach out to our team today. Our main goal is to make you and your loved ones feel confident, secure, and excited about your future.

Chloe is a non-registered associate of Cetera Advisor Networks.

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