Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses Succession and Planning for Small Business Owners
In my practice as a business law attorney, I have helped many clients realize their dreams of owning their own businesses—a large number of which are small businesses with just a few employees. While I certainly take a great deal of pride in assisting small business owners, I am troubled by what I see as a trend of business owners who have minimal or no plans for the future of their companies. By “future,” I mean the time after the business’s founder and first owner is no longer able or willing to run the company.
If you own a small business, it is very important for you to make some type of succession plan. Failing to do so could cause serious problems for your family, investors, and business partners.
Do You Want the Business to Continue?
Some business owners start their companies with the goal of handing control down through multiple generations. Others, however, are content to start ventures and sell them for a profit, as dictated by the market. With this in mind, the first thing you need to ask yourself is whether or not you wish to have your business outlive your participation in it. If the answer is no, there is nothing wrong with that, but you should make every effort to have your business in a condition to be sold—just in case something happens to you.
If you decide that you do want the business to continue, you will need to identify a candidate—or several candidates—who are likely to have the skills to take your place. You could choose one or more of your children, of course, but you could also look to your existing employees. It is very possible that someone you hired will have the necessary abilities and passion to carry on your legacy once you decide to move on.
Preparing Your Successor
Once you have someone in mind to succeed you, your next step is to make sure that the person you have selected is willing to take on the role. A good candidate will answer with an enthusiastic “yes,” while someone who vague and equivocal about the opportunity is probably not the best choice.
From there, you will need to develop a timeline for your successor to take over your responsibilities. Many experts suggest increasing your successor’s duties slowly while you remain close to address any potential problems. By the time you are ready to be out completely, your protégé should be fully prepared for the road ahead.
Call a DuPage County Business Law Attorney for Help
If you are considering the future of your business and you are unsure of how to create a proper succession plan, contact an experienced Naperville business lawyer. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.