Row of cows at farm in Shropshire

Succession Planning

25/11/19Succession Planning

Planning for the here and now is what occupies most people’s time, with the everyday challenges that arise usually keeping us on our toes. If you’re running your own business, or are a landowner with tracts of land to be maintained and/or farmed, there will be plenty of work to carry out. But preparing for the future, or succession planning, is an essential aspect of any successful business venture. Succession planning can strengthen a business, with knowledge being passed on through the tiers of management or family members, to be retained within the company.

Don’t delay decisions

The process is often something that is not discussed until it is too late. Succession planning allows for the smooth handover of land, property or a business onto the next generation of leaders. The implementation of the plan is necessitated when older figureheads and leaders of the firm leave the company, retire or pass away. If it’s a family business, it is often the next generation of the family that would naturally take on the mantle of running the business. In many instances, this is how farming families have passed land and knowledge down through the generations. But the natural ‘down the generations’ hierarchy is often not the case these days, as sons or daughters don’t always follow in their parents’ footsteps. Even if they initially take part in the family business, they may later want to forge their own career path.

Promoting talent

If it is not a family business, there is the opportunity for succession planning to identify experienced, knowledgeable and long-standing employees to be promoted into senior roles. These individuals and roles will be identified, and they will feed into the business’s ‘talent pool’ with the long-term view that they will eventually fulfil a senior role. This can lead to other problems. For example, being passed over for such a promotion in favour of a completely new, outside candidate might not always be very well received by current staff. Succession planning should be handled with care, but when it’s done well, it can result in a robust and resilient business.

In the case of Forge’s clients, we deal with many instances of estate and property management, where land and farms will be passed on to the next generation. Many farms are built on several generations of the same family building up the business and being involved in its running. With diversification in farming these days, there are even more opportunities for younger family members to become involved in the day-to-day workings of the estate and succession planning is a natural process. Where there are planning and development opportunities at the estates, these too can become part of farming or estate management process, continuing the legacy that will last for years to come.

If you’d like to discuss any aspect of succession planning, or put in place a succession plan of your own, then please get in touch with Forge Property Consultants today.

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