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A succession plan can't wait until later

The most successful way to run a race is to keep the goal in mind. This may be true of running a business as well. Knowing you have an end plan in place and working toward it may make your efforts more rewarding, especially if your goal is to pass on a thriving business to a well-prepared successor.

The person who will take over the reins of your company will understand your business philosophy and appreciate the legacy which you place into his or her hands. However, you certainly don't expect that person to walk through your office doors out of nowhere, keys in hand, ready to take over. In fact, the only way to have a successor in line when you step down is to groom someone for the job.

Preparing for a graceful departure

Ideally, preparing a succession plan begins even in the planning phases of your business. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of building a business around themselves, creating a little kingdom that is wholly dependent on them so that, when they are no longer able to run the company, the company fails. Your efforts in training your employees and delegating important tasks will likely pay off with a seamless transition of control.

In fact, some business experts say creating a succession plan is more than preparing one person to take over the company. The bigger task is defining the responsibilities you have in the running of the company and filling those roles. Ultimately, you may choose someone from within the business to rise to your position, so it will be important to know that the person (or team of people) can fill all your roles. Some of the ways you can assure your successor is prepared include doing the following:

  • Creating a team of employees who will help with your succession plan
  • Setting a date for the completion of the transition and breaking the process into smaller goals
  • Assessing the competencies of your top candidates
  • Looking for candidates who are forward-thinking and have the potential to keep your company relevant in the future
  • Training your successor by relinquishing tasks and responsibilities a little at a time

Eventually, hopefully close to your target date, you will be able to step back from the daily workings of the company and retire. You may certainly wish to keep a finger on the pulse of the company, perhaps acting in an advisory capacity, but with a solid succession strategy and the assistance of a dedicated South Carolina legal advisor, you may be fortunate enough to watch your business thrive from the comfort of your retirement.

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