From Inside the Firm: Tom’s “Do’s and Don’ts” for Succession Planning


  1. Realize that your Exit Strategy is not business as usual. Get knowledgeable guidance e.g. from financial/legal advisors (team approach). Start now.
  1. Be realistic about objectives: Is it first and goal to go or is it a goal line defense?
  1. Anticipate Buyer’s due diligence. Financial statements and more.  Customer lists, employee stuff, etc. Make it easy for Buyer to focus on your true value.  Deal with any business “uglies” up front.  Be sure to get a confidentiality agreement for all data disclosed.
  1. Get your basic business and personal documents in place, NOW. Don’t wait.
  1. Cover all bases (Silo approach; e.g. legal, financial and practical; legal, tax and economic).
  1. Think about your Plan B. This will help you focus on what’s important to you.
  1. Realize that succession planning is a process not an event. Where were you 25-30 years ago versus where will you be in 25-30 years,  (tick, tick, tick…)?  Get a fourth quarter coach.
  1. Selected “Don’ts":
  • Don’t delay; do it now.
  • Don’t forget the basics: financial reporting; cash flow; A/Rs etc.
  • Don’t forget about your family. Plan for widowhood. Don’t assume the party goes on forever.
  • Don’t let the tax tail wag the economic dog.
  • Don’t do it yourself.
  • Don’t rely on internet documents.
  • Don’t forget the obvious. You pay for what you get.  Cheap advisors are located in the next aisle over, between the discount parachutes and the cut rate brain surgeons.

(1) The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship or provide legal advice. Persons are advised to seek their own retained counsel before proceeding with any strategy.

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