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To Transition or Split? That Is the Question?

By Succession PlanningSeptember, 2019March 18th, 20242 min read

Kenny Rogers sang of the importance of knowing “when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em”. Any succession plan worth its salt isn’t just a plan of who will succeed whom in running the business. It also needs a “Plan B” for the scenarios where the chosen successor is unwilling or unable, where there is no successor, or where a generational transition of the business might lead to serious conflict.

Some business founders/owners enjoy the early stages of creating and growing a business, but then tire as the management becomes more bureaucratic by necessity. Or worse, the founder is the one who does the “exciting” activities, and then passes it to the next generation who inherit a mature business with little scope for innovation.

Another possible obstacle when transitioning is the family dynamic of the rising generation: will they (collectively) be able to govern/manage the business without conflict? Will they end up being unwilling partners joined at the hip and with most of their wealth tied up in a single asset? Most families will choose to be financially separate and on good terms, than sharing assets and fighting over them.

Consider This: In your succession plan, have you done “scenario planning” to consider the ways thing might not go as you plan or aspire? To what extent has the rising generation’s own aspirations been taken into account at the planning stage?

Original articles:

Here is more on reading on family business succession planning.

Also published on LI as Transition or Split?

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