In the construction world, the parties spend a lot of time planning the project before it starts. Typically, such careful planning allows for the project to go as smoothly as possible. Having a project go according to plan and smoothly is good for everyone involved for any number of reasons. If what you just read makes sense and you are shaking your head in the affirmative, then why haven’t you spent that level of effort on planning for your own business’s succession?
In my experience, the reason is that it is incredibly difficult to think about the business you built in the hands of someone else. This feeling is not unusual and very typical. However, do not let it paralyze you from doing the necessary planning to transition the business to your family, your employees, or a strategic or financial buyer in an efficient manner. Doing so is not only important for you and your family, but also for your employees. If nobody knows what you have in mind for your business beyond you, there will be confusion within the family and uncertainty among your employees as they will begin to worry about their futures and may even perhaps look for other opportunities. This could have the unfortunate byproduct of making your business more difficult to run (whether you are there or not) and less attractive to a financial or strategic buyer interested in a strong, well-positioned management team. So what are you waiting for? At the very least, begin the conversation and learn what succession planning is all about and how to construct a proper plan that makes sense for you and all involved. A proper plan allows for a smooth project; so too will one allow for a smooth business succession.