Business succession within the family (most common)
Internal succession within the family means that both ownership and management responsibilities are transferred onto one or several family members. In addition to that, there are mixed types, e.g. the ownership remains within the family but there are also persons from outside the family brought into management. Especially if the successor(s) do not have the same experience as the orginal owner, it might be useful to have an external manager. External managers can also be brought in to lead company.
External business succession and other types
Depending on how management and ownership are divided there are different types of succession available. If the ownership does not stay within the family, the business can be sold to an employee, a strategic investor or a financial investor.
Venture Capitalists or Business Angels can be suitable partners for a business transaction. In other cases, a business foundation can be the best choice. Each situation will be a function of available network resources.
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.
The nachfolgewiki contains many articles that explain different aspects of business succession. The following articles might be relevant to you:
Allgemeine Informationen zur Unternehmensnachfolge und möglichen Ausgestaltungen