Photo: Beppe

 

Unpleasant topics can be hard to deal with. Human nature has us procrastinating on unpleasant things constantly, but when they turn to matters of retirement, life, and mortality, it can become even worse. Sadly, this is the best example of how putting something off doesn’t make it go away! Planning for the future of your company without you can be tough, emotional, and hard work – but it’s a very necessary step on the road to having a lasting, successful business.
An important first step on this journey is to not do it alone – whether you seek the help of family, friends, co-workers, or even legal counsel, make sure you have someone to talk your plans through with. You could get lucky and immediately know your plan – maybe a family member or a close friend is your ideal choice, and they’re open to the idea. Unfortunately, you’re also just as likely to need some serious consideration time on who you want to approach about it. Whichever way you choose, make sure you’re taking your time and making thoughtful, rational plans. Rushing into a decision this important can spell huge trouble down the road.

Photo: Jony Gayle

Photo: Dominic Torell

Once you’ve figured out who’s going to be running your company when you’re not, you should move on to deciding the best way to pass the baton. What specific areas do you need to train them on? How long do you think they’ll need before they have a firm grasp on what needs to be done? Do you want to stay involved in some capacity after you hand it over, or do you want to retire completely? While many of these questions can be answered as you run into them, thinking about the answers to those questions ahead of time can avoid distracting and concerning questions down the line.
All of this assumes that you’re interested in making sure your company continues in your absence – many people decide to retire their business when they retire themselves. There is nothing wrong with any choice you make in the matter, but make sure you give it considerable thought before you proceed either way – you don’t want to find yourself regretting shutting down your company or resenting whoever you handed operations over to. If you do choose to retire your business when you retire, make sure ample time is available between the moment you make your decision and the moment your company closes. That time allows you to inform any clients that you won’t be around any longer, and gives employees a chance to find other means of employment before they’re left without a job.

Photo: MyEFunder

Photo: MyEFunder

As stated, there’s no wrong answer to any of this, but careful planning and consideration can take a majority of the shock out of the equation when the time finally comes. The Internet provides almost endless resources detailing succession plans and retirement options, and it would be wise to utilize every bit of information you can find. Take the process slowly, work through everything with a clear head, and you’ll have a plan you’re happy with in no time at all.

 

 

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