Midlands Family Business Conference: Succession and the Family Plan

Palbir Vadesha

Ahead of the BusinessDesk.com Midlands Family Business Conference we caught up with our headline sponsor and one of the speakers joining on the day, to discuss the key areas that will be addressed.

Palbir Vadesha is a senior associate and solicitor at leading East Midlands law firm, Nelsons, and specialises in corporate services. She has acted for many family businesses in all phases of their journey, and here she describes the key elements to build a strategy for succession planning.

Aside from the day-to-day core responsibilities such as driving sales, improving services and achieving profits, a matter which is which is often overlooked by family businesses is succession planning.

Whatever your sector or size, care, preparation and advice on succession planning can help future proof your business, identify new leaders and help you to achieve your goals.

The drive for transparency

It’s important to identify the long-term goals for your family business, whether that includes retirement, handing to shareholders, passing down the generations or selling to a third party. An open discussion about this can avoid the risk of confusion, keeping everyone on the same page.

Incorporating timescales into a succession plan is helpful to make the transition smoother when the time comes for people to move on. Trying to rush succession planning can be stressful and pressurised.

It is also important to be flexible with a succession plan; it may change with circumstances and having the time to consider all your options is better.

Nurturing talent from within

Think about how you can pass on the important insider knowledge and expertise to others in the organisation, so that your skills don’t leave the business when certain family members do. This may involve training staff through formal qualifications or getting them to work alongside your leaders or other senior employees.

Your family business may have a desired successor who is already working within the team. However, it is also good to consider the different ways you can incentivise ‘key’ individuals to remain with and continue to build the family business. This could include employee incentive schemes such as growth shares, or an employee share scheme.

Future proofing against risk

If succession within the business is not an option, for example your current staff just don’t have the skills required or desire to take on the business, you should consider looking externally to recruit key staff that are required. You can even build succession into the hiring process to help source the right people.

You may also wish to consider having a third party business or organisation acquire your business, leaving you to exit completely or work less time within the business. Sometimes previous owners stay on for an agreed period of time after a sale as consultants.

Don’t go it alone

Succession planning can be a minefield, engage quality professional advisors who can advise you on tax, financial matters and legal support from the start. Careful planning and advice from the outset can help you to structure your affairs in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.

Nelsons provides a range of legal services through its corporate team, one of their specialisms is succession planning.

Join us

The Midlands Family Business Conference will take place on Thursday 23 November at Holywell Park in Loughborough and will highlight the unique place that family businesses hold in the Midlands economy.

The event will be fully interactive, giving every delegate the chance to shape the conversation through a panel discussion and a series of round tables – as well as featuring a high-profile keynote speaker.

For more information visit Midlands Family Business Conference.