Succession Planning is a Journey – Not a Destination
Over the years, we’ve come to learn that many business owners are confused by most of the information that is currently available because it seems to provide them with more questions than answers.
When they go searching online, they are typically looking for answers to questions like, “What’s the best way to transfer business ownership to other family members?”.
Here are the questions they haven’t necessarily thought about before:
- Will you have enough money for retirement?
- Have you provided enough security for your family?
- How can you move your assets to the next generation without losing control?
- Have you taken timely steps to avoid paying too much tax?
- What steps have you taken to ensure family harmony?
The problem for these business owners is that they are thinking of succession as a destination rather than a journey – they are thinking exit strategy, instead of succession strategy.
The starting point for succession planning should definitely be with the desired destination in mind. But many questions, like the one’s above, need to be answered in order to figure out the optimal path for you to take.
The process of uncovering all the right questions for your circumstances and finding the right answers, is like a long and winding road through the forest. The job of the succession planner is to shed light along that path to help you navigate your way safely. Obviously, this journey is not going to happen over night. It’s going to take some time.
How Long Does the Succession Planning Journey Take?
We typically want to start a client relationship with a business owner five to ten years before he or she is thinking about passing along ownership to the next generation or selling to others. That gives us time to plan for contingencies to protect their assets and mitigate risks, ensure sufficient income levels for retirement, and take advantage of strategies to minimize taxation upon both the sale of the business and upon settlement of their estate.