Planning to transition your business over to new hands? Answer these questions

December 12, 2018

There are a lot of things to consider when planning for your business’s future. This assessment will help you determine if your succession plan is fully ready.

1. How far along have you gone in your succession planning?


  • I have a plan and my successor or buyer in place.
  • I don’t know if I want to sell my business or pass it on to a successor. 
  • I haven’t yet thought about succession. 

It’s a good idea to start thinking about a succession plan long before you actually plan to exit your business. To do this, start by thinking through big picture questions about what you want for the company long term. 


2. Who do you want your business to go to when it transitions?

  • I want my business to stay in the family or with my employees.
  • I am willing to sell my business. 
  • I don’t know.

Knowing the direction you want to take your business in long term can help you with management decisions now. For instance, if you’re considering selling the company, you may invest in parts of the company that are most attractive to buyers.


3. Have you identified your transition team?

  • I alerted my accountant, lawyer and M&A (mergers and acquisitions professional) about my transition. We’ve had a few meetings. 
  • I’ve just started thinking about a transition, so not yet.
  • I could use some help with this process.

A trusted team of financial professionals, including your accountant and lawyer, may be able to help you come up with a concrete succession plan based on your long-term goals.


4. Have you prepared your business for a possible sale — created marketing materials or had an M&A professional review your books?


  • I won’t need to do this, as I have a successor or buyer in place.
  • My team has already started marketing my business.
  • I haven’t yet started the process.

    It can take years to position your business for a possible sale. Even if you’re not set on a sale, have your business valued regularly so you know what to ask for and be ready to draft a buy and sell agreement for interested buyers.

    Deciding what to do with your business takes a lot of planning. You may need to have multiple conversations with your family, as well as a team of trusted professionals. Ultimately, thinking ahead can make the process smoother for both you and your family.


    If you haven’t thought about succession planning for your business, we can help. Make an appointment with a business banker, or learn more about succession planning.

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