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Business planning is not just about starting, but maintaining

Is there anyone in the Twin Cities who doesn't remember the fiasco at the Academy Awards in February? We doubt it. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were there to present the award for best picture. They announced "La La Land" won. Except, it didn't, "Moonlight" did. The red faces of nearly everyone on stage must have made it look as if the color balance on TV screens was out of whack.

We know now that the accountant tasked with maintaining the security of the envelopes messed up, but we offer that the lack of transparency that is so a major part of the culture contributed to the problem. That's why those with experience in business development highlight the importance of having a solid succession plan and recommend that it be created early and openly.

It's about permanence

On the face of things, succession planning might appear to be only about handing off the reins of control from one leader to another. However, most experts in the field acknowledge that there's much more to it than that. The real purpose of developing a comprehensive plan of succession is to make sure that legacy business success does not falter.

Making that a given, here are some tips that many agree deserve to be considered best practices in business succession planning.

Set aside time

A leader shouldn't keep his or her exit strategy plans a secret. Rather, they should be clear about what they are thinking. In the process of setting a date for the change, build in a two-year window during which a transition plan can be developed and executed.

Spread the client relationship network

Most companies depend on repeat business or referrals from satisfied customers to maintain their flow of leads. The most enduring of relationships were probably established by the founder, so experts say making sure that all others on the team get trained on each client's unique history and potential needs should be on the to do list.

Be sure your successor is on board

It's not enough to simply name a successor. The person you want to take over might not be up to the job when the time comes. Alternatively, they might not want the position. Surprise! Then what do you do?

Planning is wise and to be sure it all is done effectively and legally, work with skilled legal counsel.

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