Running a family business can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. At the same time, it can be a true headache, especially when you look at the legal complexities of succession planning. If you don't already have a succession plan in place, it is important that you can get one formed sooner rather than later. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Discuss It With Your Family.
To some, this probably seems like an obvious thing to do. However, there are many business owners who will make major decisions without consulting with other individuals in the business. Take Mark Zuckerburg, owner of Facebook, for example. In 2012, he purchased Instagram without consulting the board prior to doing it. Making a huge decision like this can alienate your family, so you want to make sure that you take the time to hear everyone's perspectives before moving forward. You may find that someone has direct concern in the business that you would have never expected to be interested.
2. Draft a Mission Statement for the Business.
Many business, even small ones, have a mission statement. By taking the time to write one down, you will have a good idea of what your family business is and what you want it to become in the future. If there is any doubt about this down the road by whoever comes to head it all, they'll have a roadmap from the person who started it.
3. Write Down the Job Titles and Job Descriptions.
Because it is a family business, you may not necessarily want to give everyone job titles and job descriptions. However, it can make things easier. For example, say that you had planned on handing over the reins to your younger brother when you were ready to retire or you passed away. However, your son assumed that he would take over the business at the time. Well, if you had job titles and descriptions written out, your son may realize that the duties were simply too difficult or would take up too much of his time. Also, by taking the time to write out titles and duties, you may find that you can split up some tasks and/or create new positions within the business so that you can include both your brother and your son at the top-of-the-line.
Succession planning isn't something that you have to do alone. It can be a tricky thing, so if you want help, consider speaking to a business lawyer about family business mediation services.