Are You Ready for Succession?

From Walmart and Mars to the corner store in your neighborhood, about 90% of all U.S. businesses are family-owned or family-controlled. At any given time, a large percentage of these companies is facing a generational transition. Yet it’s reported that less than half have made concrete plans for succession. 

This can be for any number of reasons. Some owners are reluctant to give up control, or to choose between successors. Some have market challenges to deal with or financial or tax implications to untangle. Issues of identity and lack of outside interests also can be a hindrance. After all, most entrepreneurs are wired to operate a business, not to hand it off to someone else. 

In fact, most owners are so busy running their companies that they keep pushing succession to the back burner. They figure they’ll get to planning “when the time is right.”  

But if you want to increase your chances of a successful transition, there’s really no time like the present. It takes months (or even years) of thinking, planning, communicating and doing to pass on a business. Not to mention, the next generation needs time to grow through planned development and mentoring. 

You may never feel completely ready for transition, but here’s a first step you can take. Our Succession Readiness Worksheet, available here  – will give you an idea of how you’re currently positioned in four areas: 

Preparing the Company

Developing Your Successors

Involving the Family

Evolving Your Role



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