Plan your succession
- 03 May, 2007 22:00
Most owner-operators of small to medium businesses will probably have a very clear idea of where their business is today. They should know what immediate opportunities and challenges the business needs to tackle to still be operating a year or two from now.
But how many owner-operators have a clear idea of what will happen to the business when they want to pass the baton?
In the ever-changing world of technology reselling many business owners could be forgiven for thinking they are only in it for the short-term, or they will only ride out the current technology wave.
Many businesses following this approach tend to eventually sell up or go belly up.
However, companies with a more long-term outlook will inevitably find themselves at a point where those who have built the business from scratch have either had their fill or simply want to bow out and experience the joys of retirement.
But what happens to the business in this case, especially if it was built upon the reputation of its founders?
How does the cult of personality, which lies at the core of much small business success, live on when that personality departs?
The secret is to have a good succession plan in place. If you’ll forgive the obvious pun – businesses need to succeed to succeed.
Anyone who has put their life’s work into building a business from the ground up, will at some point have to consider some kind of succession plan.
An excellent current example is that of Maclean Computing.
Now the first thing Allan Maclean will tell you about his son Chris joining the business, is that he has absolutely no plans to exit the hot seat for at least another two years.
Also, Chris Maclean has the appropriate background for his role as the company’s new director of sales and marketing. His entire working life has been in IT and apart from casual work as a student he had not been involved in the family business until this year.
Instead, he has worked for a number of technology companies, including IBM, and spent seven years of his career in the UK.
The experience he gained abroad and outside of Maclean Computing has certainly equipped him with the credentials for his current role.
However, over the next two years at least he will still have to prove to Maclean Computing’s staff and clients that he is capable of stepping up and taking the reigns of the business.
And if for whatever reason this does not go to plan, Allan Maclean has a backup. Last year, he fielded 11 unsolicited acquisition proposals for his company.
Either way, Maclean has the future of his business sorted. Do you?