Succession Planning Question 1: What is your personal vision and timing?
Some business owners are so busy dealing with the everyday demands of running their shop that they seldom, if ever, take the time to think about the future. Or they are so deeply immersed in their business, they simply can’t picture a time when it won’t be the center of their life.
On the other hand, there are owners who dream of the day when they can walk away from the day-to-day demands and stress. However, they have only a vague idea of what their life will be like when that day arrives.
Whichever scenario resonates with you, it’s time to take a hard look at your life today and what you want it to look like in the future. The reality is that one day, either through planning or as a result of age, health or other circumstances, you will no longer wish to continue running your business. The time to plan for that day is now.
The first step is to envision what life after being a business owner looks like. You likely have a vision for what you want your business to be, but what about the next phase of your own life?
Are there hobbies you’d like to pursue? Do you have a passion for helping others through volunteering? Would you like nothing more than to lie on the beach with the most pressing decision of the day to be where to eat dinner? Perhaps you’d like to be an advisor to your successors in the business you built, or start an entirely new enterprise.
Whatever future you see for yourself requires a roadmap to get you from today to that ideal second act. It also requires accruing the financial resources to achieve your goals and sharing the vision with your spouse or significant other to make sure you’re on the same page.
Defining your future state is not always an easy task. You really have to think carefully about who you are and what kind of lifestyle will make you happy. Once you know what your personal goal is, you can determine when you’d like to make the transition from business owner to the next you.
With your goal and timing planned, you need to ask yourself the second important question, which we will explore next: Am I going to sell the business? If so, to whom?