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Baby boomer biz owners: Where to now?


This post is written by Simon Telfer, director  of Stimulus Consultancy, which specialises in SME governance, strategy and succession planning.

You’re a baby boomer business owner. Healthier and wealthier, you are no longer content with having your nose to the operational grindstone right up to the day you exit your business. But neither can you stomach the idea of waking up one Monday morning as an “ex” owner.

You believe you still have a significant amount to contribute to your business, matched by a desire to remain commercially stimulated and connected. Securing a mid week bowl’s club membership or joining the local coffee set doesn’t overly appeal. Flexibility is key for you. After all, you’ve got your second OE to organise.

Traditional succession planning is, however, typically framed in the context of “selling your business”. Despite a holistic approach being touted by legal and accounting advisers, planning quickly turns to discussions around likely acquirers, financial valuations and pre sale reviews.

Don’t necessarily want to sell? Well now may be the time to consider some precession planning: bringing in a new GM or CEO with you moving to non-executive director (or at least a semi-executive director). Experience shows what a powerful transition this can be within an organisation. You get a new lease of life, working strategically and with a greater degree of flexibility. The engagement of a new GM or CEO introduces fresh energy and ideas to the company as a whole.

For successful precession planning consider the following steps:

  • Attain absolute clarity on your personal wants and needs
  • Allow time for the implications of the transition to be fully thought through
  • Assemble a board or a key independent adviser to support your transition
  • Define a broad company strategy for the next 3-5 years
  • Engage a new GM or MD with the competency to execute that strategy
  • Streamline your operations with services like Xero

While the concept of hiring a general manager and taking a less hands-on role is not new, now is the time for it to be more actively promoted as an alternative for those owner managers caught in a ‘where to now dilemma?’ Put succession on hold and undertake precession planning to maximise the mileage left in your baby boomer tanks.

Read more about precession and succession planning on the Stimulus website.


Read more about Business, Small Business


1 comment

5 June 2009 #

If the business is something you love, that you’re good at and it makes you feel alive why give up?
I spent years teaching kids to find what they are good at, match it with something they love doing and provoked the idea that they would never go to work a day in their lives. They would only go to play everyday. If you’ve worked hard to get to this point, why give up?
Yes we all need advisors to give us other points of view, to open our mind to other possibilities, to run the company while we go to explore another area of earth for a few weeks, but if your brain still works and you can still hold an intelligent conversation, why give up?
Precession planning makes sense. Everyone wants to see their life’s dream continue, but how to let go? At some stage we have to stop building and pass the baton to the next wave of innovators. How to create an ongoing involvement and still feel worthwhile as a contributor who is genuinely respected and valued? I’m sure every business is different, but so often the business is successful not only because the product is good, but because the founders have a passion that is inspiring, exciting and contagious. No degree can replicate passion. Its not solely about acadamic qualifications and experience.

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