How can I start a business succession process?


Nachfolge_BuchDuring your lifetime, business succession is usually a unique event. This makes it even more important to be carefully prepared. Also, the transfer of the business onto a next generation should be seen as a strategic entrepreneurial task and an important part in a small company’s history. It is not a problem or weakness of the owner, it is a challenge brought about by the right amount of succes. No matter your age, every entrepreneur should prepare for what happens in case of an unexpected absence and prepare the business for an emergency. A solid emergency plan can also serve as a foundation for succession planning.


How much time does a succession take?


Stifte_nachfolgeThe time required for a planned business succession is quite different and in most cases, the succession takes between two to five years. As every business succession is unique, there is a variety of aspects that can influence the time that will be needed:

  • Has a suitable successor already been found (e. g. within the family or the business)?
  • How long will the training and introduction of the successor take?
  • Which changes have to be made within the firm before the succession?
  • What should the financing and the transfer look like?

If the business transfer is planned as early as possible, there will be enough time for all the important decisions and the preparation of a well-structured business transfer when the time is right.


Additional links and hints (in German only)


The nachfolg-o-mat (“success-o-meter”) is an online tool that gives a general overview about business succession in Germany. Each user can answer different questions and will then receive an individual analysis about their succession knowledge. In addition to that, the users can see in which areas they still need to acquire more information or knowledge and which contacts might be useful for that.
If the manager in a family firm is replaced, the firm’s brand changes, too. The markencloud (“brand cloud”) shows, what these changes can impact and how a family firm’s brand management can be prepared for a succession. The markencloud was developed specially for family firms and provides individual information and links for a succession planning.
The nachfolgewiki contains many articles that explain different aspects of business succession which are important to know for predesessors. The following articles might be relevant to you:


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