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Creating a succession plan for your business is an important next step. If you or another leader is planning to retire, then you need to have a predetermined course of action to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership during this next phase of the company’s life.

Take Your Time

When creating a succession plan, it’s important to start the process early. This ensures that you have plenty of time to develop your plan, and take all factors into consideration. By taking your time, you’ll also ensure that you won’t make any rushed decisions that could have negative implications in the future. Being proactive will also make sure that you aren’t caught off guard by any sudden changes in structure. By the time an employee leaves, it will be too late to create a process for the transition. Start by determining criteria for potential candidates who will take over your position, and then develop a course of action. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect at the beginning. Establish the basics, and stay open to improving your plan over time.

Assess Potential Candidates

After you’ve put together a short list of candidates, it’s time to assess their abilities. The board should look wide and deep. Consider hiring an outside firm to help you in the process. This helps avoid any bias and ensures that no qualified candidate will be overlooked. Candidates should be able to handle both short and long term emergencies.

Perform a Simulation

One of the best ways to test candidates is through a real-life scenario. A vacation is a great time for a “trial run,” or to leave someone else in control. This situation allows you to determine their potential, and provides them with additional valuable experience. This experience will be far more useful than any reading or presentations.


Many succession plans leave out one of the most important steps: what happens after a successor is named. Candidates are rarely ready to take over immediately, so they should be introduced to their new responsibilities over a period of time to ensure a smooth transition. Make sure you take advantage of the time between the announcement of the successor and when they actually start to provide them with all of the necessary information and hands-on experience.

By creating a succession plan for when you retire, you will help your business continue to prosper in the future. By starting early, choosing the best candidate possible, and providing them with the necessary knowledge and experience they need to take the reins, you’ll set your business up for continued success!