The terms succession planner, exit planner, and family business advisor are frequently used interchangeably, leading to the assumption that they all have the same meaning. However, it is important to recognize that while the exit planner and family business advisor touch upon certain aspects of succession planning, a clear distinction exists between their limited scope and the comprehensive mission of a succession planner. Succession planning is a vital process that helps ensure a business's long-term success and sustainability, particularly privately-held businesses. It involves developing a strategic plan for transitioning leadership and ownership from generation to generation. A well-executed succession plan enables the smooth transfer of decision-making authority, knowledge, and assets, minimizing any disruption to the business.
While both exit planners and family business advisors play important roles in the overall succession planning process, they primarily focus on specific aspects rather than addressing the entire spectrum of challenges and opportunities that come with succession planning.
Exit planners primarily concentrate on helping business owners develop and execute a plan for exiting their businesses. They often assist with valuing the business, finding potential buyers or investors, and managing the financial aspects of the exit. Their goal is to maximize the value of the business and ensure a successful transaction for the owner.
On the other hand, family business advisors guide and support family-owned businesses in governance, communication, and conflict resolution. They help families navigate the unique dynamics and challenges when family members are involved in the business. While they may touch upon succession planning in their advisory role, their focus is typically broader and encompasses the overall health and longevity of the family business.
In contrast, a succession planner takes a holistic approach to succession planning. They comprehensively understand all the elements that contribute to a successful transition. A succession planner works closely with business owners and their families, the CPA, the Attorney, the Wealth Advisor, etc., to develop a customized plan tailored to their unique circumstances and goals. They consider factors such as leadership development, talent management, family dynamics, financial planning, and tax implications.
By partnering with a succession planner, business owners can ensure that all aspects of the succession process are thoroughly addressed. The succession planner acts as a trusted advisor with the knowledge and expertise to understand the inter-related relationship & influence of the technical, family, business, and management dynamics, guiding the family through the complexities and uncertainties of succession planning. They bring expertise and experience to the table, helping to create a clear roadmap for the future of the business.
In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the distinctions between the terms succession planner, exit planner, and family business advisor. While they may be used interchangeably, their scope and focus differ significantly. While exit planners and family business advisors fulfill specific roles within succession planning, a succession planner takes a more comprehensive approach, addressing all the vital components required for a successful transition. As a business advisor, expanding your service offering and growing your practice can be achieved by gaining additional knowledge and insight into the challenges that impact the continuity of privately held businesses. Doing so can elevate your practice to new heights, enhancing client retention and providing additional value-added service offerings.