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Choosing a successor for your family business

For many business owners, preparing their business for a future without them can be distressing. However, your succession plan is an important part of your estate plan. For family businesses, the important task of choosing a successor can become especially complicated.

Whether you founded your Georgia business or inherited it from previous generations, planning for the future is key to confront uncertainty, avoid confusion and prepare for a seamless transition when the time comes. In choosing your successor, keep the following considerations in mind:

Get started early

Many business owners put off starting their succession plan to another day closer to their intended retirement age. However, refrain from linking your succession plan with age. With the unknowns of the future, get an early start on identifying your successor to have a plan in place in the event of early death or disability.

Consider all potential choices

Identifying a successor in any small business can be a complex task. However, in a family-owned business where you may work together with children, siblings, nephews, nieces and more, your choice can seem particularly complicated. Narrow your selection to those with demonstrated passion for the business, the skills necessary to take on a key leadership role and interest in taking on the role.

Exercise clear, honest communication

While this decision is a critical one for you, it may also be important to include your family on key details of your succession plan, especially when it comes to identifying your successor. Communicating early and frequently can also minimize the possibility of future conflict or disagreement among family members. Communicate with other key parties at your own discretion, including stakeholders, other employees and even customers.

Work together with your successor

One benefit to starting your succession plan early is the opportunity to work together with your successor. Take your time to train them, familiarize them with all aspects of the role and introduce them to key customers. This time can be valuable to set everyone up for an eventual smooth transition of power.

Succession planning can be a challenging topic for Georgia business owners to confront. Getting started early, drafting a formal written succession plan and working with the right professionals can give you peace of mind in knowing your business will be well cared for.

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