The daunting task of succession planning will be well worth the effort when you watch your business flourish in the following generation. Here are SCORE’s top five succession planning tips:
Choose your successor
It’s difficult to choose a successor for your own job. And, you don’t wake up one morning knowing that a particular manager or family member will be suited to picking up where you leave off. Rather, this is an intensive effort that calls for an examination of all employees, who potentially have skill and ability to lead the company. Experts generally estimate that succession planning should begin 15 years before you intend to retire; this way you have time to oversee your successor as he or she learns the business and hones his or her skills.
Develop a formal training plan for your successor
To develop a successful training program for your successor, identify the critical functions of the company. Then, it’s a good idea to have your successor work in each of these areas. Immerse your successor in the business of your company so he or she sees both the depth and breadth of the operation.
Establish a timetable
Set up a training timetable and a timetable for shifting control of the company. If succession is to be successful, you, your successor and your management team need to know who is in charge of what and when. Your successor can’t succeed if you overrule decisions routinely.
Prepare yourself for retirement
It’s also important to outline a plan for your transition from officer and operations manager for the company. Begin your retirement plan early. That retirement plan may encompass recreation, travel, community service or another business venture — whatever is right for you.
Install your successor
You owe it to your company’s future and to yourself to install your successor in your lifetime. Once that’s accomplished, you need to be prepared to let your successor carry out the role for which he or she has been trained. Ultimately, your successor’s success or failure is up to him or her. You can lay the groundwork, provide the training and establish a culture for your company. From there, the senior management and board of directors are both the support system and checks and balances for the company.