Our Top 6 Succession Planning Questions For Business Owners

I recently had the privilege of engaging with more than 50 succession planning professionals at our inaugural Succession Planning Roundtable to discuss how we can best serve our business owner clients. These credentialed CPAs, estate planning attorneys, business attorneys, wealth advisors and risk/ insurance experts have decades of experience in their fields.

But there’s one question none of them could adequately answer: how to move their clients to action on succession planning, even as potentially serious consequences loom ahead for boomer business owners who choose to ignore the inevitable fact that every owner will leave his or her business one day.

Though we didn’t come up with a magical answer, there was a lot of good material shared. Each of our five panelists shared their top questions they ask their clients when talking about succession. If you’re still thinking, “Not me. Not yet,” read on for the questions I find important in spurring my clients into action. Click here for the full list of all of the roundtable presenters’ questions.

1 — What concerns you most about getting started with succession planning?

  • What's holding you back or getting in your way? What have you already done?

2 — Who in your business IS — or CAN BE — capable of running it profitably and sustainably if:

  • You wanted to take off for two to four weeks for a much-earned vacation getaway?
  • You were tired of the demands and wanted to ramp down to three days per week?
  • You were no longer able to run your business due to health issues, family needs or worse?
  • Could your family continue to run your business profitably?
  • Could your family afford to hire someone to replace you?
  • How do you know? Are they willing? What is your contingency plan if something happened to you?

3 — Do you really know what your business is worth, beyond a back-of-napkin self-assessment? What will someone pay for it? What would YOU pay for it if you were buying it today?

4 — What have you done to get your business “sale ready” for the outcome you most want, whether to fund your retirement, leave a legacy business to family or employees or find a strategic buyer?

5 — Most owners have a hard time imagining life without their business. How will you navigate that transition?

6 — What two or three things could you do in the next three months to position you to transition on your terms?

Spend some time with these questions. You don’t have to have all of the answers tomorrow, but it will serve you well to consider them today.

Interested in joining our Succession Planning Roundtable? Email Abby or call 336.458.9939. We’ll add you to our invitation list for future events.