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The Importance Of Succession Planning Sounds Like A Broken Record: But Don’t Ignore It

There’s no way to put enough emphasis on the importance of succession planning. Consider for a moment all that you do for your business–from all of the major strategic decisions to the small daily tasks that keep things moving forward, and everything in between. You’ve worked hard up until this point, and would ideally like to stop burning the midnight oil post-sale with little to no follow-up commitment on continuing to oversee your life’s work. Whether your business will be passed down to a family member or you’re selling your shares to a successor in your company, the transition from your ownership to that of another is inevitable. 

The ugly truth is that only 30% of family-owned businesses survive the second generation, yet 83% of businesses lack a succession plan. So, how do you start? Read on.


Plan for the inevitable. 

Simply put, you don’t want to manage your business forever. If you desire any say over what the future of your business looks like, it’s critical to start putting those plans into place now rather than later. The following components can essentially act as a succession planning to-do list

  • Choose a successor 
  • Create a timeline for transitioning the position or company
  • Prepare for tax implications
  • Get an appraisal of the business
  • Communicate the process with key employees, workers, and contractors (if applicable)

Pro tip: Your planning should run under the assumption that this process could take 12 months or more to complete, depending on if you choose to transfer your equity and your role to your successor(s) all at once, or slowly over time. At a minimum, you should account for:

  • 3-4 months to develop your succession plan
  • 3-4 months to implement a trial run
  • Room for a few months to wrap up any final tax considerations and legal documents 

Be strategic about your successor.

If you don’t have someone in your family with the experience and/or interest to take over the business, perhaps you should broaden your scope to those who are already working for you. For example, is there a co-founder who could buy out your shares or an executive who has distinguished themselves high above the rest? Take the company places you only pictured in your dreams? Alternatively, do you know exactly who you could never trust to run your business? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when passing the torch: 

  • Emotional considerations– Is it important to the current owners that one of their own steps into an executive spot? Would a third-party buyer continue the business in a way that you would want? 
  • Competency considerations– Do you have someone with the experience necessary to meet the challenges that the business is facing or could be expected to face in an increasingly complex world? Would bringing in new management/outside expertise better enable the business to meet its objectives? 

The truth is, things can quickly get messy and if you don’t have these conversations now. Especially if you’re looking to slow down and simplify your life ASAP. It’s better not to spring a potentially difficult conversation on someone when the timing is less than ideal.

Invite experts to the table.

A lot of money is switching hands which is why you should have top experts helping to guide it. They can advise you on the actions and strategies that your business should take at every step of the succession planning process to ensure a smooth transition–even if it’s years away. 

At Monument, we understand that our clients have spent years building a business that’s worth a lot to them, both financially and emotionally, but they may not know how that business will ultimately support their personal goals and objectives moving forward. 

How do you turn a business valuation into a plan to transfer wealth to your children, or support your university with a transformational gift, or simply live the life you want to live when you’re no longer tied up in the day-to-day operations of the business? We help clients identify what’s important to them and eliminate the overwhelming complexity associated with decisions surrounding a business exit. 

We became part of a Team of business exit advisors and are at our best playing the role of quarterback–getting the play from the couch, understanding what each player on the team is supposed to do, and getting the football to the specialty players to move down the field. Specialty players include Merger and Acquisition Advisors, Trust and Estate attorneys, CPAs, and other trusted financial professionals. We collaborate closely with these members of the team to ensure that they have the information they need and are working in concert—ultimately ensuring that all your specialty players are running the same play and working as one coordinated team to deliver the best result. If you need a specialized service from someone not already on your team, we’ll find the right people to assist you.

Wealth managers can help pave the road. 

The importance of succession planning boils down to working with a Team of seasoned financial professionals who understand exactly what you’re going through, have helped others through successful business exits time and time again, and can guide you through the ups and downs you might encounter along the way. Ahem, drumroll, please…

Enter Monument Wealth Management. We have seen a lot of succession plans and business transactions and are well suited to help coordinate all the specialty players and help the coach, you, win the game. 

Our wealth advisory Team guides clients through every financial conundrum of their lives by providing clarity and removing the anxiety of the unknown. While not everyone resonates with our straightforward, unfiltered opinions, we’ve had a grand track record of business owners coming to us for specialized advice on their wealth management needs.

The financial unknown doesn’t need to be so ominous. That’s why we create transparency for you–providing options and a plan for the future. Knowledge is power and we have the answers you need. 


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