Often, Oregon business owners understand the importance of succession planning but end up leaving it to “someday.” After all, busy business owners can have so many immediate, pressing matters to attend to. However, the truth is that leaving succession plans until “later” can sometimes result in them not being done at all or being poorly thrown together at the last minute. Here are some tips to help business owners get succession plans documented sooner than later:
- Start early: There are often financial considerations related to retirement and succession planning that are worth knowing in advance, allowing things to be organized, saved and managed with eventual retirement in mind. It is also important to plan early in case there is an emergency or death that forces the plan into action earlier than expected.
- Work together: Business leaders, financial advisors and accountants, partners and attorneys all can help contribute to a well-designed succession plan. If the plan involves passing business assets to a next of kin, he or she should also be engaged in the process to ensure the plan makes sense financially, legally and in terms of people’s life plans.
- Plan to reassess: Although early planning has plenty of advantages, it is also important to remember that business and life can change. As a business evolves so, too, should its succession plan.
After putting a succession plan in place, it may be a good idea to “test” the plan. For example, put the person who would inherit the business in charge for a couple of weeks to see where they might need to grow. There are human and leadership considerations as well as dollars and cents involved in passing a business down, and all these should be considered in the process. Additionally, legal aspects of the succession plan should not be overlooked, and documentation should be put together by an experienced Oregon lawyer with business planning and estate planning expertise.