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Do you have the ego to deal with succession planning? The reality is that when you start down this path, it is the first step towards accepting that the business is not all about you anymore. You have to be ready to let go of your vision, your convictions, and anything else that was firm while you were in charge. The next generation has to have the room to experiment, develop convictions and make rules. It takes an enormous amount of strength to step back and stay back.

“Succession” seems to be such an old concept – one that invokes kings, not necessarily entrepreneurs. When it comes to business, however, succession is perhaps the most fundamental concept and object of planning. “In every end is the beginning.” No truer words could be written when it comes to planning the successful succession of a small business.

If business succession is on your mind then you will want to read a recent Forbes article titled “How to Succeed At Succession.” Before you read the original article, remember this – the questions are as important (if not more so) than the answers.

So, what kinds of questions should you be asking yourself? Here are a few to ponder:  Do you want the business to live on past you? Who ought to lead it? What is the business in the context of your own estate or the estates of your partners? Do you have an exit strategy in the event of retirement, disability or death?

In the end, make sure you consult appropriate legal counsel. This area of planning is not a do-it-yourself project.

For more information please visit my estate planning website.

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