Why Use the Team Approach When Doing Succession Planning?

By: Amy Wirtz

Creating a good succession plan is a large project. The most common reason the plan is never completed is because the business owner does not know where to start. She often does not know how to make the time to work on the business while working in the business so she never gets to the project. It is my experience the owner often starts to hyper ventilate at the thought trying to manage all of the people who have opinions on when, how and to whom the business should be transferred so she give up.

The Exit Planning Institute models a collaborative team approach to passing the business on to the next generation or putting your business on the market. Why? Well we believe that one person cannot and should not be the all-knowing advisor to the business owner. I am a lawyer and mediator, I should not be doing a formal valuation report of her business. That is the role of the valuation expert.

A team creates the synergy needed to deliver the best process possible during a business ownership transfer. I practice collaborative law and teach the collaborative team approach at the Exit Planning Institute in Chicago for the Certified Exit Planning Advisor program. I and am often asked what does collaborative mean. The definition of collaborate is “A cooperative Arrangement where two or more people, which may or may not have a previous relationship, work jointly towards a common goal.”

A typical team is comprised of the business owner, business and estate lawyer (sometimes the same person), an accountant and business valuation expert (maybe the same person), an insurance expert, a lender, and sometimes a broker. There are others that may need to be on your team based upon the business needs or family needs.

When a Certified Exit Planning Advisor is utilized by the business owner, she has a project manager to help her complete the process. The C.E.P.A. will make sure all individual team members know the goal of the owner, understands her interest and goals, and will get the project done in the expected time frame. Often the C.E.P.A. will break the project down into manageable steps that helps the owner understand and complete the plan. When the individual advisors have a project manager, it helps keep costs down for the business owner, because they are not being billed for duplicate services. The individual advisors share their wisdom with the other team members, which helps the members create a synergy that helps creates new and better results for the owner.