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The saying ‘Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail’ holds true in the context of succession planning. Succession planning is crucial as it allows businesses to transition effectively when a key individual moves on to a different role or organization, ensuring the continued efficiency of the business.

It involves educating, nurturing, and developing talent within the workforce, enabling them to take on more significant responsibilities in the future.

Isabelle Farquahar, Business Advisor - Growth Specialist, provides the  top ten points that businesses should consider when preparing for succession planning.

1. Start Early:

Succession planning is a long-term process. Identify potential successors early so that you have adequate time to assess and develop their skills and knowledge required for leadership roles.

2. Identify Key Positions:

Determine which positions are critical for the continued success of the business. Focus on leadership roles, but also consider key technical positions.

3. Assess Current Talent:

Identify individuals who show leadership potential and a commitment to the organisation. Evaluate their skills, competencies, and potential.

4. Develop a Leadership Pipeline:

Create a structured development program to nurture and prepare potential successors. Provide training, mentoring, and exposure to different aspects of the business.

5. Document Key Processes and Knowledge:

Develop an Operational Manual to ensure that key information, processes, and knowledge are documented. This documentation is crucial for a smooth transition and helps new leaders understand the business.

6. Communicate Openly:

Maintain open communication about the importance of succession planning. Encourage employees to express their career aspirations and discuss potential leadership roles.

7. Consider External Talent:

If your internal pool of talent is limited, start considering external candidates. Specify the job role and go hunting. Bringing in fresh perspectives to the organisation is always beneficial.

8. Create a Succession Planning Team:

Your HR team should form a team responsible for overseeing and implementing the succession planning process. This can include key stakeholders.

9. Regularly Review and Update Plans:

Succession plans should be dynamic and regularly reviewed, perhaps quarterly, to account for changes in the business environment. Make it an agenda at board meetings. Update plans based on the development and performance of potential successors.

10. Legal and Financial Considerations:

Ensure legal and financial matters related to succession are addressed. This can include estate planning, ownership transfer, and compliance with relevant regulations. Speak to a qualified solicitor and accountant to make sure there are no surprises!

We hope that you now have a stronger sense of assurance when it comes to your business succession planning. It is truly empowering to have established plans in place and actively shape the future of your business, rather than solely focusing on the present, which is so easy to do as we all live very busy lives and tend to focus on the here and now.

Ultimately, envision the ideal future of your business and consider what needs to be in place to achieve this. We are not suggesting unrealistic plans, but rather plans that are attainable within the next few years. Identify employees who have the potential to contribute to this goal and provide them with the necessary education, training, and development opportunities.

If you want to find out more about planning for the future of your business, get in touch with our Growth team here at the Business Growth Hub. We will find the right advisor and service for your needs.

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