Everybody knows the famous movie series Austin Powers, and most have seen at least one of the hilarious movies. It would be difficult to forget that famous scene in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in which Dr. Evil and his son, Scott, are in group therapy together. Scott explains to the therapist and the group about his situation, saying, “Well, I just met my dad really for the first time five days ago… He comes back and now he wants me to take over the family business.” Dr. Evil then exclaims, “But Scott, who’s gonna take over the world when I die?”
And like the therapist responds to Dr. Evil and Scott’s argument, sometimes it really DOES feel like that to us. We fret and wonder what will happen to our business or our farm when we retire or pass away, hoping that it will be placed in capable hands. We ponder what our business will be like after we leave, and we hope that it will still be strong and productive.
Sadly, we can’t simply just hope that things will work out in the end for our business. We need to sit down for a while, put our thinking caps on, and come up with a good solid plan (or two) about how we want the company to carry on and in who’s hands after we retire. That’s when a succession plan comes into play!
“Well, what IS a succession plan?” you ask. A succession plan is simply advanced planning for the smooth transition of the next generation going into the business while at the same time rewarding the retiring generation for their contributions to the business.
When you get into making a succession plan, you need to consider the dynamics of your potential successors, their management styles, communication styles and so much more. You also will need to keep in mind the specific goals for your business when creating your succession plan.
When it’s time to choose a successor or two (or more!), it’s essential to reassure yourself that they possess the necessary skills for taking care of the business. Some of the skills needed include the ability to manage labor, solve personnel problems, understand finances, and make purchasing and selling decisions. They should also possess good communication skills. Speaking of good communication skills, you should also be sure to communicate your business and personal goals with your successors throughout the transition process so your successors have a more accurate idea on how the business should be run.
If you’re stuck on what to do, don’t know where to begin, or have some questions, we here at FamilyFarms can help! If you’re ready to get started, give us a call at 1-877-221-FARM. We’ll get you set up right away with your succession planning so your farming business can go more smoothly and your mind can be put at ease. Let us help you care for you farming business in the present and in the future!