When it comes time to move on from your business, especially when it’s a business you’re determined to keep in your family, you have many choices to make. Many of these decisions are covered in the succession planning process, but the most important piece of that is choosing – and training – your successor.
We’ve written previously about the risks of handing a business on to all your children. But you can ensure a smooth transition by creating a comprehensive training program for your successor, which will require that you consider several factors:
Depending on your relationship with your successor, you may get different sorts of questions. No one understands the intricacies of your business as you do. You’ll need to relay the insights fully and accurately you possess as they learn more about the role.
When you start handing over responsibilities, you should make a point of advising on your strategies for those responsibilities:
- You may understand some clients respond to a specific direction.
- You might understand that some of your workforce can only accomplish certain tasks.
- You might have an intricate strategy for the next several years.
No one knows your plans unless you tell them.
When you run the business, you have certain processes you must take on every year. If you’re the sole owner, and you’re incorporated, you might have to have a yearly board meeting, with yourself. You’ll have to correspond with your business attorney regularly. There are many “business owner rituals” that you might have done over the years that you don’t think anything about anymore. But your successor won’t have any idea about them.
The final part of the training process is turning over the reins fully. It can be hard to let go, but if once you’ve answered every question, provided all your advice and explained the processes only you may have known, it’s time to step back. Your successor will deviate from your plans and make choices of their own. But it is their business now.