Recently there have been a number of articles about the aging American workforce. In short, there aren’t as many people available for work in Generation X, the Millennial generation, and the generations in school right now as there were during the Baby Boomer era. They also have a different take on what’s important to them, and all of that means the old way of conducting business might be less and less successful in the next few decades.
That’s not to say no one wants to work; there are plenty of people starting up new businesses or continuing the family legacy on the farm, and probably even more in offices, factories, and shops throughout the country. But planning for the future now may be more important than ever before.
If you’ve started your own business, you may want to keep it going even after you retire. If you work for a large company, the business will probably continue on past the day you leave, yet your skills and knowledge will go with you. Either way, you’ll need a successor, and you’ll need a plan in place to make sure your successor is prepared to take the reins.
It’s known, as you might expect, as a succession plan. I’ve talked about it before, but perhaps the most important aspects of the plan need a closer look.
Who will replace you in the business, whether as owner or simply the person taking over your tasks? If you’re considering retirement, you probably have someone in mind and have been training them for a while. This could be a long-time coworker, a valuable employee, or a family member (if you own a business).
Be clear about the succession, and who will be doing what once you are gone. You have a lot of history and authority in your company, and any question about who takes over could turn into an argument, legal trouble, or even lead to the demise of the business.
Take some time to help even after you’re no longer part of the company, too. Write down each step of your day-to-day duties and keep it somewhere everyone can find it. That way, a job can get done even if the successor you’ve trained is out for the day.
It can be a challenge to write down every single step of a process — there’s so much you do without thinking about it — but try handing your instructions to someone who doesn’t know what you do and see if they can follow along. If that person has trouble at some point, you know you need to provide some more detail in your instructions.
If the next step for your company is to sell it, be prepared. Talk to an attorney and get the paperwork ready. You will need a buy-sell agreement that defines not just what will happen to your building and inventory but also your employees and relationships with customers and vendors.
You’ll get more out of a sale, of course, if what you’re selling is in the best shape possible. A Hastings Mutual Businessowners policy is one option, along with our add-on coverages like our auto roadside assistance and insurance for specific types of business. You many need other kinds of insurance too. It might also be a good time to replace aged equipment and refresh the look of your facility. But don’t make too many changes; your successor will want to put his or her own touch on things, and all your hard work may not last long.
How are you prepared for someone to take your place in your business?
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