Business Succession: Preparing for the Future

In my last posting, I outlined the difficulty and importance of considering a transition strategy appropriate to your situation as a business owner or executive. Today, I will explore how to go about finding someone to whom you can be comfortable turning over the keys to the business you have carefully pieced together. Remember, this is your baby; it needs to be taken care of.

The obvious place to look for a successor is inward. Whether from within your own family or from within your established business structure, you may already be able to identify an adequate suitor. If so, congratulations! You may now pass go, collect 200 dollars, and retire someplace where they put tiny umbrellas in your beverage. (Okay, it might take a bit more than 200 in this economy, but who can put a price on peace of mind?) But what if your children get roped into other professions or your desired successor cannot afford to take over? To where do you turn?

To the same place you always have when in need of assistance: your friends, associates, and referral sources. The people you trust know you and may be able to put you in touch with an enterprising family member, friend, or business associate of their own. Conduct interviews. In this economy, there is a wealth of hungry, unemployed graduates ripe for mentoring, as well as a number of experienced professionals whose former employers were unable to weather the recession (i.e. Dewey & LeBoeuf; if you haven’t been reading the Wall Street Journal, more than 1,000 lawyers and administrative staff have left there in the last year – most of them involuntarily).

No matter which you choose—the seasoned veteran or the eager-to-impress rookie—the next step remains the same: apprenticeship. But that is a discussion for another day.

If you have questions, give us, or your neighborhood financial planner a call. If you don’t have a neighborhood financial planner, get one you trust. It will be the best move you ever make. If you need help finding one, give us a call. We’ll help you look. You can find out how to reach us at our website: You can also find us at, on Twitter @thefisherlawoffice, or at

As for transition planning, we won’t bury you with all the details here, but will continue the discussion in future postings. If you would like to keep updated, subscribe to the blog so that you will receive additional suggestions.

Alternatively, you can just click here for Part IPart III, and Part IV of our discussion on business succession strategy. Of course, the first step to creating such a successful strategy is subscribing to this blog (wink) so you’re kept apprised of further developments concerning Maryland business law, trusts, and estate planning.

As always, good luck and good hunting.

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