Planning for succession – “Passing the baton, is this your time?”

Planning for succession is something we all give lip service to, but many of us never get around to doing it till we have to or when it’s too late. Succession planning is a means of identifying and developing new leaders who can replace old leaders when they leave or retire. Succession planning focuses on the availability of experienced and capable employees who are prepared to take on the key roles as, and when, they become available.


Succession, ‘within the business’, which means having cover for key people within your business, the super salesperson who could be headhunted by a competitor. You may have a replacement leader for your position in the company lined up but does he or she know, and are they being groomed for the role.

We all tend to think of succession with reference to people but in a strict business sense. It could relate to your next winning brand or product being planned, or are you a ‘one trick’ pony whose business will decline when fashions change and/or new ideas and products replace your best.

Then there is the key issue for owners of SME’S. If you have no member of your family in line to replace you at retirement age and no obvious ‘Management Buyout Team’ in place, what is your exit strategy. Remember lots of average companies are rarely bought but they can be sold successfully if that is the agreed strategy of the owners.

We read in the press of many successful takeovers and acquisitions taking place throughout the year, but there is a great deal of backroom work completed, by both the buyers and sellers in such deals, before you get to read about them in the business press. Do not stand to wait for the knock on your door for the man with the large cheque book who wants to buy your company – he may never materialise.

Do cast a realistic eye to the future. How well is your business structured for a sale, would this be a good time to contemplate such a move. Few of us have sold on a successful business but almost all of us have sold a house at some stage in our lives. You will remember ensuring the house was looking at its best and you were planning to make your move when the market was strong.

It will be the same if you are contemplating selling your business. It’s got to be looking and performing at its best if you want the best return for your years of endeavour and, no doubt you will prefer to sell when the omens are good, rather than be caught trying to sell in the middle of a recession.

Planning management succession is a critical part of ensuring the continuing success of your business, in a market place when there is a very low percentage of unemployment. It is often said that the figure of 6% unemployed means full employment, as 3% of the working population don’t want to work and a further 3% are unemployable for a host of reasons. Staying in touch with the employment seminars and recruitment agencies in your sector is a wise thing to do for the times we live in.

If you follow LinkedIn or some of the other business platforms on the web you will see many of the big players in the market keeping a high profile and highlighting why they are the people to start your career with, if you are an up and coming graduate or a bright eyed and bushy tailed youngster who wants to start on the bottom rung and work your way to the top.

There is real competition for quality people in the market right now and it is important to stay close to your main Trading Organisations such as RGDATA or, in our case, the Irish Hardware Association. Their recruiting programmes and training seminars are an ideal source for the brightest up and coming people in our business today.

For further information or a confidential chat on progressing your ‘Succession Strategy’ call Jim Coffey on 087-9191457.