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from your own business? We call it succession/exit planning….
coddled your business and steered it through good and hard times. You’ve taken
fine care of it and in return, it has rewarded you with a reasonable income by
which you took care of your family. You’re aging and coming to terms with
either the limits of your mortality, health or stage of life and are looking to
step back from the business. You want to hand over the reins, but sorting out
the next heir may not be as apparent as you had hoped. You realise there is more
to planning than determining tax implications or pension plans. Can you actually
let go the reins and will the new handler continue to stay the course?
say there is a reasonable heir to the throne. The issue becomes, can you let go?
To most long time business developers/operators, their business is their baby.
The business has been nurtured and matured. Your guidance and tutelage has
gotten it to where it is today. Letting go is then like letting go of a part of
yourself. After years of personal investment, let alone financial, it feels like
your whole being is wrapped up with the business. Letting go creates a sense of
loss, trepidation, abandonment, not to mention an impending emptiness in your
own life. To let go successfully, you will have to have some degree of faith in
your succession plan and you will have to not only mourn the loss of your
relationship to your work, but find new venues for investing your time.
say that you are able to let go, but you are ambivalent about your heir to the
throne. Your ambivalence may reflect concerns about the competency of your
chosen heir or perhaps the stability of the person’s intimate relationship or
even relationships amongst other family members. To let go in this context, you
may have to look at developing the competencies of the heir apparent and/or
providing supports for relationship issues or even some form of family
counselling/guidance to facilitate adjustment and change.
are occasions however where the apparent heir to the throne is an inadequate
choice, for whatever reason or more simply, an heir is non-existent. In
circumstances such as these, succession planning may look more like developing a
full exit strategy. You may have to sell the business and consider how you want
to manage your wealth or the distribution thereof. You may need to concern
yourself with your family members’ ability to manage a windfall and in view of
issues; you may find yourself choosing between lump sum payments and structured
we are not discussing changing jobs or simply retiring. Handing over the reins
to a personal business, no matter what the strategy, will be filled with
potential pratfalls, be they personal, interpersonal, legal and most assuredly
key to successful succession or exit planning is having access to a broad range
of services to manage all the processes; financial, legal, personal and
interpersonal. This is considered a “systemic
approach.” Whichever institution you chose to work with, reasonable due
diligence on your part would include engaging an institution that offers this
broad array of services with this systemic approach.
For your strategy to be a success, it must be so on all levels.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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