Developing a Successful Successor for your Business

by edralyn on February 22, 2013

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You’ve done a fantastic job of setting up your new business. You wrote a successful business plan, you gathered skilled partners, and won over smart investors. You’ve set up a successful business and you’ve decided that it’s time to move on. You’re not giving up on your business, but you’re ready to start the next thing.

There’s nothing wrong with being a serial entrepreneur, but it’s crucial that you protect your business by planning for the most effective succession plan possible. You may have thought that you were simply planning out your career when you set up your business, but you’ll soon find that if you can set up management, you’ll be making more money in the end…as long as you choose your management wisely. Small businesses have this concept to learn from bigger businesses. Here are some tips for small businesses when it comes to setting up a manager in your place.

1. Analyze your company and its needs thoroughly

In order to set up a manager in your place, you’ll need to understand what your company needs and how it runs. It is actually even possible that you could choose an even better fit for your company than yourself! You need to understand the challenges that your company will face and how to match a manager’s skills to those challenges. Develop a multi-year plan that considers challenges, the role of current employees and how those roles will change given the forecast of challenges as well as you can anticipate.

2. Take personal responsibility

Often CEOs planning to leave a company already have one foot out the door and even into another door already. Leaving things up to the HR department, though, is one of the biggest mistakes departing leaders can make. If the CEO doesn’t seem personally interested, this can communicate the wrong message with those taking his or her place. It can also send the wrong message to those who will be working under the new manager that the manager is just a placeholder or not as much of an authority figure as they need to be.

3. Develop employees into the right successor

Before you leave, make sure that you’ve prepared your employees to take the reins. Use assignments and tasks you’d usually do to test your employees. See how well your employees do when asked to step out of their comfort zones. This will be a good indication of those who are ready to take on more responsibilities.

4. Continue enforcing accountability

After you’ve chosen the leadership successors for your company, do not make the mistake of thinking all is finished. Maintaining accountability from your employees is best done on a personal level. If you show up for quarterly meetings to ask about numbers, goals and to encourage productivity, you’ll see more success. Grooming your successor doesn’t happen overnight. Leaders can make the mistake of losing touch and this is often when managers will start to lose control of the company.

You can often make even more money by leaving your business in the hands of others, but only if you are careful about whose hands those are and how well you train them. Take some hints from bigger businesses and model your getaway on their success.

Michelle Poland is a writer for education blogs. When looking for a qualified successor for your company, education is important. Several schools offer degree programs, such as Howard’s EMBA Program.

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