Silver Tsunami Ahead: Create a Succession Plan – Here’s a little excerpt from Exit Power Strategies.

An article that ran in the Washington Post on May 9, 2017 discussed the “Silver Tsunami” once again. An excerpt that really struck me reads, “According to Project Equity, many small business owners do not have succession plans–and because of this they’re putting their employees at risk.” As a small business owner I empathize–we tend not to think ahead. This leaves us with fewer choices when it comes time to retire. Without a succession plan, many of these businesses ‘will just quietly close down and go away,’ says Project Equity’s co-founder Alison Lingane.” (full article here). I can understand this and am witnessing it with several of my clients. Some come to me openly and tell me of their plan to wind it down. They have consultant businesses, typically after closing down or selling a larger business of some sort. The consulting was a step toward their exit from the workforce. In these smaller versions of their former glory, they usually have one or two part-time employees. Some have a small team. I’m usually the only one that knows the plan, excepting their attorneys and families. Their staff, contractors and more are counting on the steady income they have known. Disrupting that cash flow disrupts their lives and they will need to fill in the gap, either with a new job, or securing more clients to fill in the hole left by the existing client.

For many of us, the population will continue to age and exit and we are prepared to handle them as they are ready for transition. However, for employees that are counting on a steady paycheck, and perhaps benefits, the change can throw their families for an economic loop. There usually isn’t a buyer in sight for these smaller firms, because in many cases, without the CEO, there is no business. THEY were the main commodity and without them not only are there no parties interested in filling the shoes, but the clients the smaller business served won’t likely be interested in continuing doing business without that CEO.

What can you do if you work for one of these smaller companies with a Boomer at the helm looking for the nearest exit to retirement? If you are interested in taking on the lead role, I have a few ideas, depending on how much you love what you do for this company, and how good you are with the clients. Introduce the idea of a succession plan.

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