Most Family Business Succession Plans Fail!

The best time to plant and oak tree was twenty years ago. The next best tie is today. The same can be said for business transition planning. The longer the planning cycle the better is is for the senior generation as well as the heirs and successors. The laws of compound interest work for you instead of the government.It’s true, just look at the otherwise successful businesses that do not survive from one generation to the next. Most succession plans fail.

The plan itself might or might not have achieved the family’s objectives for family business succession and transition to the next generation, but it ran out of gas before it was ever completed.

It ran out of gas because there was no one in charge, no one without an axe to grind that is, who was willing to ask the hard questions and push for the answers so the plans could actually be created and implemented based on good information.

Another characteristic of failed succession plans is that they were sold. In other words, someone sold you or your folks or whoever is in charge on the idea that planning for the future succession of the business is a good thing to do and they are just the person to help you do it.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, often we must be “sold” in order to break the inertia that surrounds us.

When we were kids we had to be “sold” on taking a bath, brushing our teeth, and putting our toys away. It’s human nature it seems, that the things we know down deep we really ought to do won’t ever  get done unless we’re sold on the benefits of doing them right now.

The challenge is that we we’re sold something we either have to stay sold or we’ll lapse into whatever “someday it will all work out” frame of mind we feel comfortable in.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of articles and video’s that create a framework answering the “what is succession planning” question for both senior and succession generation family business owners – and provides additional family business succession planning insights for your advisors as well.

To keep the family business succession process moving then means staying focused on the goal and requires, if it to be successful, that someone is anointed as the person to keep pushing the rest of you forward!

For us to stay sold on family business succession planning we’ve got to have someone in charge of the process who’ll collect the information the advisors require. When no one is in charge the data received, if it ever is, by your advisors will probably be inconsistent and/or inaccurate.

Family business succession and ownership transition planning are too important to be left to chance, to the prejudices of others, or even to the pulls and pushes of our personal loyalties.

Naturally your professional advisors want to help. They most likely have the competence necessary to help you work through the technical and planning issues – once the personal goals and wishes are clearly identified.

But your advisors need your help too. They need for you to take charge of the process – it’s your company after all – it’s your responsibility – gathering the answers to what’s important is your role – by putting somebody in charge. Somebody who’ll do the leg work.

That somebody we call the “planning coordinator”, the person appointed who will make things happen.

When it comes succession and planning the role of the planning coordinator is to act as a sounding board – listening to everyone, and I mean everyone.

They must also make sure the word gets through to everyone – whether it’s good news or not.

They must push for answers to their questions always asking for decisions and actions! And they set and keep the planning schedule – keep the heat on – focus on results.

The good news …

It does not require any experience to be the planning coordinator – in fact common sense is really all you need.

That and a desire to be part of the solution.

Family business succession planning requires that you make the best decisions possible, to insure the most productive outcome. Effective leaders know that their best decisions are those made in collaboration with people whose success they respect and whose opinions they trust. Why not harness the power of your peers, to help you consider possibilities and alternatives about your family business succession strategy? Click here to find out how this is possible!

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One Response to “Most Family Business Succession Plans Fail!”

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