What Is Business Succession Planning?

Business succession planning is a crucial process that every business owner should undertake at some point along their journey.

Why? Because it helps ensure the long-term success of a company.

A well-executed business succession plan minimizes disruption to the business, protects the interests of its stakeholders, while ensuring that the company continues to thrive even in the absence of its founder.

Let’s find out more.

What Is Business Succession Planning, Exactly?

Business succession planning is a process that involves identifying and preparing one or more future leaders to take over the company when the current owner or CEO retires or passes away. 

The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth transition of leadership and maintain the long-term success of the business. 

Key areas of succession planning include:

  • Identifying potential successors
  • Assessing their readiness
  • Developing a plan for transferring ownership and leadership responsibilities.

The Purpose of Business Succession Planning

As you’ve probably guessed, the purpose of business succession planning is to ensure that a business can continue to operate successfully without the original leader at the helm.

Without this type of plan in place, your business may face uncertainty, instability, and potentially even failure. Therefore, it helps you to avoid these negative outcomes by ensuring that the business is prepared for the sudden absence of leadership.

Business succession planning is especially important for family-owned businesses, where the founder may want to pass the business down to their children or other family members. In these cases, a well-designed succession plan can make the process clear and ensures there is no confusion or confrontation between family members.

The Process of Business Succession Planning

The process of business succession planning typically involves several steps:

  1. Identify key stakeholders and their roles: This includes the current owner, potential successors, and any other stakeholders who will be affected by the transition of leadership
  2. Assess current situation and future goals: Including financial situation, operations, and strategic goals. Consider factors such as the company’s revenue, profits, and growth potential
  3. Identify potential successors and evaluate readiness: These should be individuals that possess the necessary skills, experience, and leadership qualities to run the business. Here you must assess their strengths, weaknesses, and developmental needs
  4. Build a timeline succession process timeline: A successful timeline will outline the steps involved in the succession process and the timeframe for each one
  5. Implement and communicate the plan: Now your plan is ready it must be communicated to all stakeholders. This includes informing employees, customers, suppliers, and other relevant people about the transition of leadership 

Why Is Business Succession Planning Important?

Business succession planning is crucial for the following reasons:

  • A well-designed succession plan ensures that the business continues to operate successfully and be profitable, even in the absence of its current leader
  • It also helps protect the interests of the business owners and stakeholders by ensuring that their investments are kept secure 
  • Finally, it also minimizes the impact of unexpected events, such as the death or early retirement of the current leader

How to Develop a Business Succession Plan

Developing a successful business succession plan requires careful thought, planning, and execution. Here are some tips for developing a successful plan:

  • Start early: This is not a last minute event. It should begin well before the current owner or CEO plans to retire or step down. Identifying and evaluating potential successors and developing a comprehensive plan is a lengthy process
  • Involve key stakeholders: All key individuals should be involved in the planning process. This will help ensure that everyone is on board and that it meets the needs of all business areas
  • Be transparent: Communication is vital so be clear about your intentions. Relay the information to your employees, customers, suppliers, and investors. This goes a long way towards establishing trust and confidence in the new leadership structure
  • Consider tax and legal implications: Succession planning can have significant tax and legal implications. Don’t forget to consult with tax and legal experts to ensure that the plan is structured in a way that minimizes tax liabilities and remains compliant

Common Business Succession Planning Strategies

There are several effective strategies that businesses can use to plan for succession:

  • Internal succession: These are potential successors from within the organization. The advantage here is that the individual will already have a sound knowledge for how the business operates
  • Selling the business: If no suitable successor can be found, the business can be sold to a third party. Doing so will provide a source of income for the current owner or CEO and ensures the continued operation of the business
  • Liquidation: This is less common and usually only deployed if the business cannot be sold. Liquidating the business involves selling off all assets and distributing the proceeds to shareholders
  • Combination: It is not uncommon for a combination of these strategies to be used. For example, a business may identify and develop potential successors from within the company but also have a plan in place to sell if this does not work out

Challenges and Considerations

No process is simple and naturally, there are potential pitfalls to consider during business succession planning:

  • Family dynamics: For family-owned businesses, this can be a real problem. Family members may have different goals and expectations, which can make it challenging to develop a plan where everyone is satisfied
  • Tax implications: This is more of an issue if the plan involves selling the business. Consulting with tax experts is the best solution to ensure that the plan is structured in a way that minimizes tax liabilities
  • Legal considerations: Legal implications. Business owners should consult with legal experts to ensure that the plan complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
  • Financial considerations: Succession planning can be expensive, especially if it involves developing and training potential successors. Business owners should ensure that they have the financial resources to support the succession plan.


Business succession planning is 100% necessary if you want to ensure the continuing success of your business. However, the process is not simple, nor straightforward.

Therefore, having an expert by your side to provide advice and the best way forward is invaluable. At Finvisor we provide business consulting and planning to get you the best possible results.

Contact Finvisor today for your business succession planning expertise.

To learn more about what we do, or to request a quote, contact us at hello@finvisor.com or 415-416-6682. We’re here to help you navigate deferred revenue journal entries so you can make the most of your assets!

*This blog does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This blog should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.*



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