Live in the Now, Live on into the Future: Succession Planning Advice for Small Business Owners
Running a small business is incredibly taxing. You are so involved in your business that separation from your business is an eventuality you have little time to consider. In fact, two-thirds of Australian small businesses have made no consideration for succession. This statistic has an alarming accompaniment: 81% of small business owners intend to retire within the next decade.
There are many reasons to speak to a succession planning expert, and many of them come directly from the nature of small business. Small business owners are notoriously time-poor; there are so many issues that demand immediate attention as a business owner, planning for the future takes second priority. Living in the ‘now’ means you have an unrivalled knowledge of your business, but it means that you have limited ability to anticipate changes that can and will affect your business.
You must anticipate these changes. Succession planning is not just planning for the moment that you retire, it’s planning for unexpected; making a contingency plan for if you should suddenly be incapable of running your business. Although these are unpleasant realities to consider, they are necessary for the smooth running of your business and especially for small businesses. You can’t afford to neglect planning. In small business, you may be the only person who knows your business in the manner that you do. But the transfer of knowledge is vital, and it needs to be negotiated carefully. Our experience tells us that this process is never easy and that often a space of several years for it to be successful.
Many business owners intend to retain their business as a source of income in retirement. However, this is a less a plan than an informal will. It is largely undocumented, and consequently, poorly executed. The autopilot setting is incapable of accounting for changes in the market. And never acknowledges the eventuality that you must leave your business one day. To pursue this strategy is often a form of procrastination, to avoid thinking about these eventualities. Which is, of course, understandable considering the emotional weight that goes into making such a decision, and such an acknowledgement. Our years of experience means that we can navigate such difficult territory with this in mind, and ensure that the results of this succession are a legacy you are proud of.
If you– like 81% of Australian small business owners– intend to retire in the next decade, we encourage you to start that conversation and make those moves. You have the power to make the decisions that will shape the future of your business now. If you delay, you might just miss that chance.