After the final season of the acclaimed and award-winning series Game of Thrones, many die-hard fans, such as myself, were somewhat underwhelmed with the ending. As dedicated fans, we have invested countless hours into watching each season, dissecting the story line, rooting for our favorite characters, trying to guess what will happen next, and wondering who will finally ascend the iron throne. Undoubtedly, this series captivated the imaginations of millions of people around the globe as they eagerly awaited to finally see if their prediction of the show’s ending was in line with what the writers envisioned.
In one of the last scenes of the series, after all the wars had ended, the fighting amongst good and evil concluded, and the battles between countries in contention for the throne halted, a simple cumbersome conversation on a patio between aligned forces and defeated enemies determined who would be king. As I watched the episode unfold, I thought to myself, where is the succession planning in all of this? Why is there not an intentional succession plan available to determine who will be king, rather than using an outdated claim to family bloodlines?
Succession planning is paramount to any business, but it is an absolute necessity for small business owners. It has been said that over 70% of small business owners have no succession plan. These owners view succession planning as an afterthought until something forces them to believe otherwise. You, as a small business owner, partner, or vested officer, have usually put countless hours, hard-earned equity, and unrelenting energy into creating a company that embodies the vision, culture, excellence, and expertise to serve your industry and sustain your way of life. Without proper succession planning, all of what you have built could be at risk, and your dream might be in jeopardy.
Addressing the following easy steps below will put you back on the road to securing your “throne” while also providing you with a clear understanding of what to consider when creating your succession plan.
- Define your exit! Don’t allow external circumstances to do it for you.
As one of the most valuable resources to the company, you can’t afford to be caught off guard by unforeseen circumstances like sickness, death, etc. All of which could cripple the company if there is no one available to fill your shoes. Instead, you must control the exit, and address (1) what, (2) when, and (3) how your company should continue to operate even during your absence. Lastly, define your wants and expectations for your future endeavors.
- Get your paperwork in order and keep accurate company information.
If one of your exit strategies detail the selling of your business, then it is essential for you to understand the value of your company, the unique business models, or the proprietary methodologies that set you apart from your competitors. Attaining access to accurate and up-to-date company records, financials, and readily available documentation will assist both you and any 3rd party resources in aligning with your succession plan.
- Identify potential successors
Look within, or outside of, your business to identify the right person or person(s) who align with your business philosophy. Do they have the “FIT?” Can they preserve your culture? Do they possess the ability and skill set to keep the company moving according to your vision? Can they lead effectively?
- Train successors
Once you have identified your successor, proper care must be taken in preparing them to handle the mantle. Grooming, as a part of the succession plan, is essential. Provide them with the proper tools needed to get the job done and expose them to the inner workings of the business. Build trust and loyalty by providing them with an executive framework that they can personally brand while also remaining within your boundaries.
Although there are many levels of detail involved in proper succession planning, taking the time to follow these four steps will help you along your way to developing a great succession plan. After all, would you want your company’s future dependent on the outcome of a simple conversation on a patio?
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: