One comes, one goes – and if one doesn’t go, one is too many. This statement already says a lot about why succession in family businesses is demanding. It takes a successor who is willing to take on responsibility and it takes an entrepreneur who is willing to put responsibility in the hands of his successor. The path to succession is crucial because it involves answering many questions. Systematically addressing the issue of succession in the company at an early stage ensures success – even if the result will most likely be different than expected.

Getting started: laying the foundations

Every family business is different, and every entrepreneurial family is different. What helps all entrepreneurs shape succession is a systematic approach. This requires a systematic approach to the topic. Everything is succession! This conviction shows that succession aspects already play a role at the beginning of one’s own entrepreneurial activity. Here, concepts for emergencies will be in the foreground. The basic idea of protecting the company, its employees, and the entrepreneurial family in the best possible way in an emergency also carries over into the issues of age-related succession. This may sound exaggerated, but it is about the future viability of the company and the safeguarding of assets beyond one’s own lifetime.

Succession takes time: What are your goals?

The owners bear responsibility for the company. They shape the strategic framework in which entrepreneurial objectives are set. The focus on the classic strategic issues of the company inevitably expands to include questions of the strategic objectives of the owners. In expert circles, we speak of owner strategy, which deals with the objectives of the owners and the perception of their responsibility for the company, its employees, and the entrepreneurial family. We are of the opinion that every company and every owner needs an owner strategy in order to clarify the elementary foundations of their own entrepreneurial responsibility – regardless of the size of a company. The definition of the objectives leads to the possibilities of succession from the owners’ point of view and thus to the succession strategy.

Expectation: The right decision

The objectives of the business owner are important. Thus, work can be done to identify a successor who wants to take on responsibility, take up the existing owner strategy and develop it further. Does this person or group of people come from within the family, or does he or she come from outside? This shows the variety of issues with which the owners, the entrepreneur can now be confronted.

Do the children want to succeed the entrepreneurial parents? If so, how can they be enabled to fulfil the task in the best possible way? When is the right time? How will the employees in the company perceive this step? Or will non-family management be needed, and the family will retreat to the role of owners without operational responsibility? Or should the company be sold? Answering these questions is difficult and therefore the systematic approach, the structured process is a convincing method to solve the succession satisfactorily.

THE MAK’ED TEAM with its extensive expertise accompanies medium-sized companies in their development and thus also in the questions of generational change and succession. The establishment of owner strategies and succession strategies are an integral part of THE MAK’ED TEAM’s projects.

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