Business owners are often faced with the client concern, “What will happen to my account if you are no longer with the company?” It is a valid question and one that every business owner should spend some time reflecting on. Creating a succession plan for your business isn’t just a smart decision, it should be a non-negotiable for anyone with employees. Even if you do not currently have employees, having an emergency plan in place can be a source of relief for clients.

Succession Planning For Sole Practitioners

If you are a sole practitioner, it may be hard for you to create a proper succession plan, but that does not mean you cannot set up a disaster plan. Create partnerships with other firms (two to three is advisable) and create an agreement that in the event of a disaster, they are prepared to support your clients. They in turn would create the same agreement with you. At my firm, we also made arrangements that would allow Tobias to work from partner firms’ offices in the event that ours were out of commission. You should also consider creating a back up of company and client files.

Succession Plan For Employees

If you have employees, now is the time to start thinking about a true succession plan for your business. The reality is, there will come a time when you cannot serve your clients anymore, but your clients will still need your service. What will happen to those existing clients and your business when it’s time for you to step away? Creating a succession plan means finding those key individuals that can eventually take over the business in the future, and continue the good work you’ve started. When you begin creating a succession plan, it is easiest to find the right people from the start. Find team members who could grow into leadership roles and that shared your values.

Identify Key Roles And Key Individuals

The first step in succession planning is to identify the key roles you will need to fill in the event of someone leaving the company, or a loss. Ask yourself:

1.  What positions require special skills and training that we will need to start developing now, before the position is open?

2. What are the roles that absolutely must be filled in order to keep the company running?

These are the roles you will want to focus on as you build your succession plan.

The next step in succession planning is to find those individuals who will become your next top-level players. For starters, try to look internally at those who are already committed to the company. Assess current employees’ viability for moving up the ranks. Nurturing the skills and talents already found within your current staff ensures that a talented and loyal person will fill the role. It is also a good idea to create a plan for how you will hire outside employees should that need arise.