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Avoid these common business succession mistakes

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2023 | Business Law

As a North Dakota business owner, it’s essential to have a solid succession plan in place. Whether you plan to pass on your business in the next two years or the next 20, your succession plan should detail how the company will continue after you’ve left and ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. However, many business owners make common mistakes when planning for succession, resulting in legal, financial and personal issues.

Here’s what you should know about the most common mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Failing to plan ahead

One of the most common mistakes business owners make when it comes to succession planning is failing to plan. Succession planning should start long before you’re ready to retire or step away from the business. Ideally, you should begin planning for succession as soon as possible. This will give you time to develop a plan, identify potential successors and train them for their new role. Waiting until the last minute can result in a rushed and incomplete succession plan, leading to legal and financial issues.

Not considering all options

Another common mistake is failing to consider all of the options available. Many business owners assume their only option is to sell the business or pass it down to a family member. However, many other options are available, such as merging with another company, forming a partnership or bringing in outside investors. It’s important to consider all options and choose the one that makes the most sense for your business and personal goals.

Choosing the wrong successor

Choosing the wrong successor is another common mistake that can lead to issues. It’s essential to choose a successor with the skills, experience and personality needed to lead the business. This may not necessarily be a family member or current employee, so it’s important to consider all options when choosing a successor. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that the successor is on board with the succession plan and is committed to the business’s success.

Not communicating the plan

Once you have a succession plan in place, it’s important to communicate it to all stakeholders, including employees, customers and investors. Failing to communicate the plan can lead to confusion and uncertainty, negatively impacting the business. Additionally, it’s essential to involve key stakeholders in the planning process to ensure everyone is on board with the plan and understands their role in the transition.

Failing to update the plan

Finally, one of business owners’ biggest mistakes is failing to update the succession plan as needed. Business and personal circumstances can change over time, so reviewing and updating the plan regularly is important to ensure it makes sense for the company and your personal goals. Failure to update the plan can result in legal and financial issues.

Business succession planning is an essential process with long-term legal and financial implications. With the proper planning and support, you can ensure a smooth and successful transition for your North Dakota business.

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