So you’ve created your company from nothing, put years of blood, sweat and tears into its success, and retirement is just around the corner. What do you do next? If you’re one of the lucky people who have an exit strategy, congratulations. If you’re unsure what will happen, it’s time to think about succession planning.
Succession can mean a number of things: handing over the reins to a new generation or having someone in the wings ready to buy you out. Either way, you need a plan.
Develop your succession plan
First, ask yourself these two questions:
- What needs to be done to prepare your business for succession?
- Do you have a set timetable for handing over the company?
When developing a succession plan, follow this four-step process.
- Complete an analysis of financial and non-financial matters.
- Conduct thorough due diligence of business risks.
- Remove obstacles that might hinder succession planning.
- Look at ways to enhance your company’s value, if you’re preparing for a sale.
Handing over to family?
You might be planning to hand over your business to a family member. But this still requires careful planning.
A family succession plan recognises and accommodates the various needs, goals, and objectives of each family member. It should avoid creating ill-feeling and take everyone in the family into account. Compromises should be reached where necessary to ensure a smooth transition.
Ask us for our succession planning worksheet to gauge what different members of your family want from the succession process. This can help families work out how they feel, what different people want, what the business needs to thrive in the future, how much money and equity is changing hands, and who gets what.
The lowdown on selling up
You might presume that selling your company will be a golden ticket to a dream retirement, but making that dream a reality is far from straightforward.
With so many companies on the market, yours needs to stand out. Good businesses will fetch a good price, while bad ones won’t.
Start by assessing the current position of your business. Perform internal due diligence and conduct financial and non-financial analysis.
Valuing the business with an independent party is another key part of succession planning. It’s common for there to be large gaps between an owner’s expectations and what the market is willing to pay. Do this early.
Also, reflect on what you can do to make your business more attractive to potential buyers. There are four key drivers of business value that need to be addressed: growth, profitability, efficiency and capacity, and risk management. Leave no stone unturned.
Succession is a journey
Developing, improving, and grooming your business is just the starting point in the succession planning process. Good advisers, including accountants and legal counsel, are also invaluable in helping you on your journey.
Get in touch to see how we can help shape your succession plan. Why not start today?