I can’t remember where I downloaded this drawing but I’d like to give the artist proper credit. If any of you know where it is from, kindly contact me and I’ll change the post to give full credit. The reason I chose it for this post is because it so simply and understandably shows the expression of human emotions.

The transfer of a family business from where you are now to where you want to be in the future can be equally demystified with planning. Generational collisions don’t have to become bloody battles for supremacy. Moms and dads and uncles and grandfathers don’t have to fight to the death to move the family business to children, cousins or grandchildren if only everyone would do a little planning.

I’ve created a forty-two month transition plan that turns sighs to excitement and sorrows to joys. The plan is sixteen steps. The ordered steps might overlap from time-to-time, but deciding to leave one out could turn out to be hazardous to your wealth and your mental well being.

The plan to transition your business is:

  1. Recognize the need for change.
  2. Desire for change is planted in senior generation.
  3. Changing of day-to-day behavior by the senior generation.
  4. Analysis of current decision-making procedures.
  5. Documentation, stabilization and formalization of decision making processes.
  6. Broadening of decision making roles allowed by senior generation.
  7. Identification of all key tasks.
  8. Documentation of all tasks.
  9. Development of KEY management team.
  10. Investigate the first look at an exit strategy.
  11. Design the exit plan.
  12. Evaluate the overall organizational structure and making filling in any blanks a priority.
  13. Work with current and new team to iron out communication styles.
  14. Implement the new planned organizational chart.
  15. Hire additional needed staff and fire staff unwilling or unable to follow the new plan.
  16. Develop a board of directors and family council, to act as a sounding board during the transition.

The idea of business transfer is nerve racking enough. Planning makes mountain climbing feel more like a walk in the park. Either way –planned or not – time is moving on and so are your customers. Make sure your family firm is seen in the best light by leading your team, rather than letting circumstances of fading health, waning interest and lackluster results lead you where you might not want to go.