I know it sounds strange – but thinking about the succession plan for your Idaho business from the get-go may just be one of the best things you do when you first start your business. While there are lots of “to-do’s” on your plate right from the beginning, one of the best strategic moves you can make is to “plan with the end in mind.”
Have you ever done strategic planning with a facilitator and someone who knows how to get you from point A to point B? The good ones always start with the ending first and then work their way back to the beginning of what you need to do to get there. It isn’t rocket science, and it makes perfect sense when we talk about it, but it’s much more difficult to execute.
At Generations Law Group, we’ve been helping Idaho businesses plan their successions and succeed long-term for decades. And we’re here to help you do the same.
Start with the Ending in mind
The majority of family businesses have as a goal to “keep it in the family” if at all possible.
That’s a great dream to have, but it has to have action if it’s going to move from the dream stage to the action stage of actually happening. This starts by being very specific about what the end looks like when you are starting out.
Take the time to do some strategy sessions. As with every strategy, this will change over time and will be tweaked to fit current circumstances, but at least you will be moving in the direction you want to head. Put a stake in the ground by stating exactly what you want to have happen when you leave the business – whether that is 5 years to 50 years away.
Create some GOALS with measurable actions
These goals are not the same as your business goals.
These goals are the ones that might take years to accomplish, depending on when you want to transition the business to someone else.
Unlike your business and operational goals – which are shorter time frames (usually 1 – 3 years) and have very specific actions you need to take – these are higher level with broader actions to keep you on track. These goals are designed to continually give you guidance along the way to succession.
For example, let’s say you wanted to transition your business to one or more of your children in the next 10 years. You would set some high-level goals that would start to focus on deciding who would do what in the business, and what skill sets they would need to have to run it.
If they were very strong in math and analytical skills, then you would want to help them in two ways. You would give them some in-depth training in the accounting and operational aspects of the business – something they are very well suited for based on their natural skills.
But at the same time, you would want to help “round them out” and give them some specific training in leadership, communications, interacting with others in teams, etc. This would give them the background in other areas they are not as adept at and help round them out to be more of a leader rather than just a doer in a specific area.
These types of goals and decisions take time…years in most cases. Start too late and you end up with someone who isn’t ready to take over and lead your company. This will delay your plans of succession.
Build it into your Strategic Plan every year
When you know where you want to go overall, you can make great strides in getting there by putting this into your strategic plan every time you plan, which hopefully is annually at a minimum.
Create a section of your plan that specifically talks about “succession.” When this is a line item of your plan, you will make progress on it and can measure how well you are doing against the goals you defined earlier.
This also allows others in the company to know your intent and direction so they can help you in supporting this and building toward this end goal. If you are desiring to transition this to one or more of your children, let the company know this upfront so they can help you in their development.
Surprises are never a good thing when it comes to succession. People get misled and they form their own expectations that are not in alignment with yours. Be open, communicate your desires, and demonstrate your plans to get there.
Get outside input on a regular and consistent basis
We all get too close to our businesses…it’s what makes them great and also can create blind spots.
When it comes to succession planning, you don’t want any blind spots. You want others not intimately involved in your business to look at what you are doing and give you their pros and cons relating to your planning. This is some of the most valuable input you can receive as a business owner.
Outsiders who have seen this before can give you some “early warning signs” if they see things heading in a different direction than what you have planned. They can help you stay on course and help you get there easier and possibly faster by avoiding some of the pitfalls they have seen others make. They are a great resource to give you some “checks and balances” against your thinking and your planning.
When our Boise-based team at Generations Law Group created Your Concierge Counselsm this was one of our key objectives: to give business owners regular and consistent input on their business (and their succession planning) from the perspective of an outsider who has interacted with hundreds of businesses.
It is one of the most valuable assets a business owner can have – comparing what they are doing with others that have been successful and learning how to avoid the landmines that are always out there.
Contact Generations Law Group today
If you start this type of planning when you first start your business, you will be miles ahead. Make a commitment to creating a plan that is specifically designed around succession. Create the vision and some very solid goals over the time frame you are thinking.
I hope you have found this helpful and given you a different way to look at your business. If it has, please share this with others inside your company and your colleagues who are running or leading other businesses. Our primary mission at Generations Law Group is to help everyone find productive ways to lower their business risk AND personal risk. Let’s make sure your risk is as low as it can be while you continue to grow. Contact us today.