Succession Planning Strategies: 5 Things to Know About Preparing Your Business for Sale

What’s your exit strategy? Although it can be strange to think about what would happen to your business without you at the helm, it is important to consider the many succession planning strategies available to you. After all, you don’t HAVE to work forever. Eventually, it will be time to pass the reins on to the next generation of leadership. Proactive planning helps ensure the transition happens on your terms.

Succession Planning isn’t a Dirty Word

Succession planning is often perceived negatively, but it is an essential component of owning a business. Many business owners stay active and involved in their business for decades, while for others, the lure and freedom of retirement is just too enticing. Thinking about moving on to the next phase of your life can be nerve-wracking, but succession planning is a tool you can use to set your mind at ease. Knowing you’ve done everything in your power to transition your business successfully will prepare you to move forward with intention.

Tap Your Network and Use Resources Available to You

There are excellent regional resources to help you forge the next steps in your business.

Having adequate support is important at every business phase. It’s no different during succession planning. You don’t have to go it alone. And you shouldn’t. If you’re planning to sell your business, you’ll need to conduct a business valuation. When Points North founder John Foucault was considering selling his business, he worked with the Northspan Group for a fair and credible valuation.

Start the Succession Planning Process Early

Succession planning takes time, but working with a consultant can help keep the process on track. Finding the right fit for your company is critical to its long-term success. Don’t rush this process. Instead, take your time in finding a potential buyer whose vision for the future aligns with your company’s values. Also, keep in mind that your first plan might not pan out, so have contingencies in mind. Don’t get discouraged. It takes time to find the right buyer.

Focus on Your Financials

In a perfect world, your financials will already be in order. In reality, there will be some cleaning up to do before your business is ready for sale. Potential buyers will want to see an accurate picture of several years of numbers, as well as projections for the future. Work with a trusted accountant or financial advisor to ensure your financials are correct before putting your business up for sale.

Prepare Your Business and Your Team

Business owners walk a fine line when succession planning. Sharing too much information too soon can cause unnecessary worry or panic, but springing a merger, acquisition, sale or closure can be shocking to employees, clients or other stakeholders. You know your business best, and the decision of what to share and when lies with you. Once the announcement has been made, be sure to communicate a definite amount of time that you’ll be available for consultation

Your business can and will go on without your leadership, and if you’ve been proactive about the succession planning process, the next generation of leadership will press forward and keep your vision alive during this new and exciting chapter.