Succession is Really the Beginning!
As an entrepreneur, it is exciting and easy to look forward and dream about building your business. For multi-franchisee owners, this includes building and implementing a strategy to open more stores and/or diversify your brand portfolio. Rarely are the impacts of the "unknown" considered while dreaming big about growth and the future. More so, when the term "succession planning" comes up in conversation, the topic is quickly changed to something more exciting.
To many owners, the idea of succession planning reflects the end. It is considered a strategy for a buy-sell, an exit, potential retirement, tax planning, and what happens to the estate after death. The reality is that succession planning, regardless of the misconception, is really about the beginning.
When dreaming about the future, the last thing we want to think about is what happens in the end. But what about those things that can happen "in the journey" which have a direct impact on the sustainability and growth of your business?
Change is all around us. Shifting generational perspectives and advancements in technology are affecting how business owners find and keep talent, and create and sell their products or services. Now more than ever business owners must think ahead to leverage strengths and opportunities and either embrace innovation or accept the possibility of decreasing market share. Strategic planning is critical and too often overlooked as a part of the succession planning process. Based upon the perspectives of those involved, the strategic outcomes may focus on recruiting top talent, developing future leaders, growing the business, identifying alternative revenue sources or simply finding better ways to sell, better serve customers, all in an effort to drive profit.
Another key area of succession planning involves a deep dive into your people. Do you know if your people are inspired by your culture and motivated to be "owner minded?" The only way you can fulfill your business dreams is if you have a strong team of people that are inspired by the organization's mission and vision.
And what about family and close friends and their impact on the future? Have you considered how your family members impact business decisions? Are they actively employed within the business or do you know if they would like (or not like to be)? Perceptions and attitudes are never neutral. For example, if a spouse does not get along with a partner or key manager, it will create stress for everyone. Consider environments in which siblings, cousins, parents, nieces, and nephews may be actively employed together and/or inactive shareholders. Perceptions and attitudes can make any simple environment complex, and running the business without these complexities is hard enough.
Finally, many owners tend to overlook how behaviors and attitudes influence the culture of the business. We find many owners confused because they don't understand that as much as they talk and work to instill certain core values and a specific culture in the business, it never seems to stick. We find that this is usually due to a misalignment of an owner's behavior and professed core values.
Consider the value succession planning brings to your business, in the beginning, rather than assuming it is only about preparing for the end. It's an important process allowing you to begin with a vision while helping you build and grow your business well into the future. You can build value that will provide opportunities for your family, your employees, and your community and have a positive impact through multiple generations.
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