5 steps to take for successful business succession planning to prime your firm for growth

No matter the size of your business, some key people ensure its smooth running and growth. Without these people, even successful companies can face difficulties. Creating a business succession plan is an essential step for business owners.

A succession plan is a strategy for developing future leaders within a company. It can help identify the people that will step into key roles in the future. It can mean that should an employee leave, you have someone ready to take over that you can have confidence in. Business succession planning can also provide security in other instances too, for example, if a key employee becomes ill or the business needs to expand quickly. In many cases, as a business owner, you should also be part of the succession plan, paving the way for you to step aside when you’re ready.

With a succession plan, being proactive is essential. When someone is ready to leave, it’s too late to start the process. Being proactive means you can reduce the potential negative impact it could have on business operations.

If you’ve yet to put a succession plan in place, here are five steps you should take to get started.

1. Set out the business’s vision and growth plans

It’s impossible to create a succession plan that accurately reflects your business without first spending some time looking at what you want to achieve. What are your business’s core aims and goals? How do you see the company changing and growing in the next ten years?

With a business plan set out, you can ensure succession planning aligns with your business’s needs.

2. Take note of existing skillsets within the business

Once you have an overview of your business and how you want it to move forward, it’s time to assess how your business operates now. You should look at the employees currently in place and identify the skill sets they bring. Are there any gaps in your workforce? Which skills are essential to the running of your business? And are you positioned for the future?

While hard skills are often the focus when reviewing your workforce, don’t forget about the other insights team members can bring. Someone that has worked closely with clients for several years could have valuable experience and strong working relationships that are just as important as technical skills.

Don’t forget to include yourself either. While you may have no plans to leave the business yet, taking steps to ensure it could run without you can provide a safety net and offer you more options later.

3. Speak to your employees about their goals

Speaking to employees can offer a wealth of information and help you better understand what they want to achieve. As part of wider performance reviews, asking what their professional goals are and the skills they’d like to develop can identify those keen to move up in the company. Employees may surprise when you ask where they see themselves in the future.

While some firms opt not to tell employees they’re being fast-tracked to leadership roles, it can be beneficial. It can mean they’re more engaged with the business and the additional responsibilities you want them to take on. It can also help you retain the employees that are part of your succession plan, providing stability.

Just as important as nurturing talent within the business is recognising when you’d benefit from recruiting.

4. Set out a plan to develop skills and experience

Once you’ve selected potential candidates, a plan is essential. This should bring together the skills your identified were essential within the business and how you can support candidates to develop them. That may include in-house training, going on an external course or simply involving them in routine processes so they can learn while working.

Don’t just pass on the skills needed but give them a test run too. Whether you hand over the reins for certain projects or allow a leadership candidate to take charge while other employees are on holiday, it can give you confidence as well we motivating them.

5. Make evaluating your succession plan a regular task

Don’t put a succession plan in place and then forget about it.

For it to be successful, it needs to be regularly reviewed and evaluated. You should ensure leadership prospects have regular appraisals to identify where skills and experience are needed, as well as couniting to look for promising talent among other workers.

You should also consider if your succession plan could be beneficial as part of your hiring strategy. Promoting the opportunities and support given to leadership prospects can help you secure promising talent and increase candidate numbers when advertising roles.

When you’re planning the future of your business, it’s also important to consider your own future. When you step aside from your current role, what do you want to do? Whether you plan to set up a new business or retire, financial planning can help ensure you have the means to achieve your goals. Please contact us to discuss your financial situation and the steps you should be taking.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.


    What our clients say

    The majority of my time has been spent running a business and concentrating on making the correct day-to-day decisions; it was essential for me to gain advice and guidance. Phill and his team at RPG have been able to guide me and provide a balanced portfolio. Without turning to RPG, I would have been unable to arrange my long-term financial future. They have a vast amount of knowledge and have produced the results essential for when I decide to retire.

    John S, Shropshire


    Because our business was growing every year, we didn't really look at how the money we were making was put to best use. We needed some expert advice to lead us in the right direction. Anthony O'Connor has always been very helpful and approachable whilst dealing with our affairs. We are left to do what we do best: run a business. We would highly recommend anybody who is seeking financial advice to look at the services Anthony and his team can provide.”

    John and Carole, Cheshire

    Business owners

    We decided to use Phill Owen to help us with our financial planning as our savings, mortgage and life policies did not seem coordinated. Phill provided a clear plan for the future. He helped us organise our wills, inheritance matters and our future retirement. With our face-to-face catchups and regular emails or phone calls, Phill has always given us sound advice. This, in turn, has given us the peace of mind that our financial matters, now and in the future, are in good hands and in good order.

    Nick and Christine, Shropshire

    Retired Dairy Consultant and Retired NHS Therapist

    I started using RPG on the advice of my bank when I started my own limited company. They have guided me through potential pitfalls in such a friendly manner that, even though our relationship has always been professional, I still consider them as friends. This journey has gone through setting up my company, tax, VAT, insurance advice, setting up wills, buying a different house and ensuring my wife and sons are provided for, both now and in the future. It has been such an easy journey. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.

    John M, Manchester

    Aircraft Engineer

    My wife and I have been clients of Phill's for 25 years; 20 of which were with RPG Chartered Financial Planners. 17 years were prior to retirement and nine years have been post-retirement. Their involvement has been crucial to dissipate our financial and estate management concerns. RPG’s staff have been exemplary; always approachable and quick to respond. We have no reason to believe that this tremendous working relationship will not be as successful in the future as it has been in the past. We have no hesitation in recommending them.

    Paul and Pat S

    Retired Veterinary Surgeon and Retired College Lecturer

    I am a Chartered Structural Engineer and have very little knowledge, experience or understanding of financial affairs and investments. Approximately six years ago I started to think about early retirement. For the past six years RPG have provided excellent financial planning and tax-efficient advice in the form of a combination of pension and cash ISA investments, which have grown significantly to such an extent that early retirement is imminent.

    Pete, Manchester

    Chartered Engineer

    Early in 2000, we decided we needed financial advice. We contacted Phillip Owen, who created a financial planning strategy that addressed all our needs. We were impressed with his advice, and so a partnership began that has lasted. Original goals are still being met and often exceeded, and investments are successful. There is long-term financial planning in place, even for the youngest family members. I highly recommend Phill and his team.

    Mike, Westminster

    Retired Teacher and Volunteer Sector Adviser

    We were in need of an adviser who could provide a wide spectrum of advice for managing our portfolio. We met Anthony on several occasions to understand his breadth of experience, and we were very impressed. Anthony's team took the reins in consolidating and rationalising our portfolio. We are very pleased with Anthony's service and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship with him.

    Atul and Nita, London

    IT Consultant & Accountant

    Anthony O’Connor has advised me over several years about pensions and general financial planning.  I have found him knowledgeable, supportive and a person who provides good solutions . He has a “can do “ approach and makes things happen.  I have recommended him to a number of friends and they are all happy with his support and advice  He is always good humoured which is a good quality when planning ones financial affairs.

    Geoffrey Smith, Manchester


    Get in touch