Being Ready: Small Business Succession Planning

As you’re likely aware, we at R.S. Technical Services recently underwent one of the most critical situations a small business can face: the loss of our CEO – face of the company, moral and business leader – Rod Sutliff. And with that loss came the necessary succession of power and leadership to a new team. Though it’s never an easy process, we were fortunate: Rod’s natural inclination to forward thinking led him to recognize the importance of planning for this transition while he was still with us.

Succession Planning is Critical

He long ago sat down with our key management personnel and worked with them to draw up a succession plan for the inevitable time when he would no longer be at the helm. Consequently, we were ready. Our leadership succession has been as smooth as one could hope, having minimal negative impact on our business processes and interaction with customers.

That led us to wonder: What have you — our customers, vendors and distributors – done to plan for YOUR business’s eventual leadership transition?

It’s a serious question that we hope you’re asking yourselves. We know it can be scary and even unpleasant to imagine your key personnel absent from your company, but we’re so glad we did that hard work! And if you haven’t asked this tough question, it’s never too early, as you’ll come to see if you make use of some of the following resources we’ve rounded up for you to make it easier to get started on or help move along your own succession planning process.

Because believe us: This is not something you want to wait to do until it’s too late and you’re in a position of limited options under emotional duress. Your business is a living, breathing, evolving entity, and you must treat it as such if you expect it to continue thriving when your own inevitable transition comes along. Sound, well-thought-out succession planning is the key to making that happen.

Toward that end, we offer the following resources to make it a little easier, to give you a place to start and a context in which to think about these important decisions. We want you to be able to feel as confident and relaxed as we do, thanks to the foresight of our beloved leader.

Succession Planning: Getting Your Mind Around The Concept

Succession Planning – News & Topics [http://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/succession-planning] at Entrepreneur magazine give you a lot to think about, and tips on how to apply the knowledge to your particular business.

Plan Your Exit [http://www.sba.gov/content/plan-your-exit] – The Small Business Administration offers basic information that won’t overwhelm you.

What to Watch Out For

The Myths and Realities of Succession Planning For Small Businesses: Five Common Misconceptions
[http://wealthmanagement.com/succession-planning/myths-and-realities-succession-planning-small-businesses] lays out some pitfalls you need to be aware of in creating a successful transition plan.

How To Make It Happen

5 Steps To Create A Viable Succession Plan For Your Family Business
[http://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/08/28/5-steps-to-create-a-viable-succession-plan-for-your-family-business] – Forbes magazine flexes its considerable acumen on behalf of the family or closely held business to lay out five manageable steps to jumpstart your planning.

How To Create A Business Succession Plan
[http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/succession_planning.asp] – Practical, nuts-and-bolts guidance.

Planning For Business Succession: Business Owner’s Toolkit [http://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/sbg/run-a-business/exiting/planning-for-business-succession.aspx] – A nicely arranged how-to.

If You Need Help

Family Business Institute [http://www.familybusinessinstitute.com/index.php/Succession-Planning] – This company appears geared specifically toward succession planning for family-owned businesses.

Disclaimer: We offer this information for the convenience of our readers. We have not tested any of this information or worked with any of these companies, and their appearance here should not be construed as any endorsement of their companies or services. Never undertake any significant legal structuring moves without the advice of trained business counsel.