Succeeding at Succession

by Michael Velazquez

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”  It is the foundation for success. This applies to the succession of your business or your family or loved ones’ businesses.

 We have seen many businesses go through this, some by design, and others by default. I promise not to preach but here are a few simple ideas to keep in mind. They may come in handy to keep things in perspective.

1. Have the right team – “Great things in business are not done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” This is critical; talk to your CPA, Attorney, Banker. Have strategy meetings. Listen and take notes, give yourself enough time to process and have a focused plan of execution.

 2. You don’t have to clone yourself – You did not start out knowing everything you know now. The new head honcho will get there. The important thing is to be philosophically aligned on the major elements.

 3. Strengthen the numbers – scale means opportunity and everyone gets motivated by that. The financials will lead to better valuations and more options to grow.

 4. It’s not about you, it’s the Market - Listen to logic – understand you may not know it all and your business may be worth more or less than what you think, and it may not matter what you think, it’s about the market.

 5. Don’t let them kick you out –  Don’t be that guy - you don’t want to stick around too long, it does present a number of problems..

 Engage with your clients –  if you run a service business they are all thinking: what happens to me if something happens to you? They will be encouraged, relieved and impressed that you have been so thoughtful.