Preparing for business succession
Business succession to the younger generation especially among private companies is shaping up to be more serious than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Older adults’ age groups have been fatally affected by the globally spreading disease. This means that they are more susceptible to the virus and require intensive care when infected. Thus, business succession is more likely to take place if they do not survive. How can the younger generation prepare for this transition?
Legitimate affairs need to go through the proper channels, including business succession. Be it transfer of shares, buying and selling of ownership, agreement settlements with managers, employees, investors, and the children or successors. The new generation needs to take part in signing documents for these transactions. At the same time, they must go through the process to learn how these legalities are being carried out.
Part of succession planning is teaching the next generation how to lead. Books and second-hand information can only do so much. Mentoring best achieves its purpose when done properly. It means that successors must have hands-on experience by being part of the management team. Through this, they can better understand the company’s vision, goals, and family values that are directly passed on to them.
Separate entity concept
Current owners must make clear to the successors that personal and business expenses must always remain separate. This concept of separating the money of the company from that of the owners may be very basic. Nevertheless, it is one of the most abused or “forgotten” practices. Especially for smaller businesses, owners would simply take cash from the register just for the rationale that it’s theirs anyway and this might be true. However, to ensure that a business can sufficiently run without incurring a loss, a business must stand independently from the owners. Owners may take dividends, honoraria, salaries, etc. but an enterprise’s money must remain intact for other expenses. Examples of which include future expansion, employees’ salaries, and vendors’ bills.
Higher education and experience outside of the family business is beneficial to the personal growth of future successors and of the family business. New skills acquired from there may be brought back to be applied to the business. New operating practices, financial controls, and other skill sets from other businesses may improve the overall standing of the company among its competitors.
Interest in taking over
Planning for the next generation to take over is an opportunity for the current owners to set a blueprint of how they want the family business to look like after they relinquish control. Professional financial advisors can help you shape your plans into reality. However, the next generation must also play their respective parts. Having an interest in handling the business is a key part of this transition.
Predecessors cannot always rely on forcing things on the next generation and implement the transition “whether they want to or not”. It is worth noting that once you’re no longer at the helm, successors may do almost whatever they want with the business, and that may include relinquishing control to others who are more interested. Interested intended successors will take the company to the next level and aim for the same goals and more. Having this ideal scenario is definitely worth preparing for.
Competitors can easily overtake a company if technological adaptation is not among your strongest suit. This advancement impacts every business. Therefore, it is crucial to one’s success especially these days when we use technology almost as a crutch to bridge the gap that social distancing requires us. The new generation’s general adaptability to these current technologies is very admirable but it will be best put to use when funds are available for them to use, after the transition. A stable cash flow and a strong cash position are indeed helpful for the new generation upon their take over.
Key employee discontent
In an ideal world, once your successors come to take over, everyone will be happy. But given that some employees who will have had more experience than the younger generation, it might not make them happy to be subordinate to someone younger and with less experience. Key employees must be retained and kept dedicated to enable a smooth transition. It can be as inventive as new salary packages and bonuses or by simply supporting them better in their endeavors and letting them know that their best interest is still at heart, despite the transition in the company.