Family businesses, independent business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the country are struggling to create a succession plan that meets their needs. Their assets, family situation, personal preferences, business structures and relationships present unique challenges.
Sometimes the elder members of the family that hold the assets have difficulty starting the crucial conversations to decide who gets what. Others don’t want to talk about the fact that they won’t live forever, and some know that the next generation has enough conflicts of their own. Even if there is harmony in the family, they need someone to facilitate these conversations so critical decisions can be made and the business survives through another generation.
Comprehensive succession planning requires a plan for three separate elements. They include:
Wealth Management: Management of personal finances, business assets, personal assets, and how they could be transferred to the next generation or other owners. This is the “estate plan” element of the process.
Business Continuity: How we ensure that the business continues to generate a profit, grow at its current trajectory, be competitive, etc. as the day-to-day management of the business is transferred to the next generation.
Leadership Transition: How the current generation of leadership and management transfers their wisdom and knowledge to the next generation of leadership and management.
All three of these essential elements need their own plan. The good thing about developing these plans is that we can take the time to develop them long before they are required, implement them in a methodical manner as they are most appropriate and timely, and modify them as needed.
Peace and Comfort
My role in this process is to help families and entrepreneurs have these crucial conversations and develop a plan that can be taken to their attorney, financial planner and accountant to finalize the wording to ensure it meets current legal requirements and limits any taxable events. Facilitating these discussions with families and entrepreneurs takes patience, time and a logical approach to each of the issues that needs to be addressed. When the process is completed, everyone knows what to expect for their future, and the stress and uncertainty are replaced with a sense of peace and comfort.