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Chartered Accountants &
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Building a Legacy Won’t Happen by Itself – You Need a Plan

“Even though your time on the job is temporary, if you do a good enough job, your work there will last forever.” ― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

Building a legacy won’t happen by itself. It requires your creative input and a grounded strategy.

In a previous blog, Life goal #3: Building a Legacy, we started the discussion about the definition of a legacy, reasons for creating one, and how that vision differs for everybody. We then mapped out the three critical elements of succession planning, which includes your team, the structures and processes needed, and the cost component.

Let’s continue the discussion about succession planning to ensure your legacy continues to thrive whether you’re on an extended absence, for when you move on to other aspirations, retire, or pass it on to loved ones after you are gone.


Why Think About Succession Planning?

“Succession planning is a process and strategy for replacement planning or passing on leadership roles. It is used to identify and develop new, potential leaders who can move into leadership roles when they become vacant.” – Wikipedia

Consider the following questions, and you’ll know why a legacy cannot be established without it:

  • What will happen when you leave the business? Will it fall apart without you, and everything you built will no longer exist?
  • What will happen if any of your key team members leave without you having someone else, already trained, to step into their place?

Succession planning is not only about putting structures in place for when you leave, but also for when any of your key employees leave. Why would you, or team members plan to leave?

  • Perhaps you or one of your team wants to retire in ‘x’ years.
  • You may be the CEO who takes over a business to turn it around, but then want to leave for your next career challenge.
  • Or you may be an entrepreneur with a great idea that you want to develop, but you don’t want to run the company afterwards. You may choose to either sell the business or get a CEO to run it for you.

Whatever the reason or circumstance, you need the right people and the right structures in place for a successful transition.


When Should You Start Thinking About Succession Planning?

Yesterday. No pressure.

You cannot wait one year before you retire or move on to haphazardly throw it together. Why? Your first succession plan may not pan out the way you thought, and you may need to start from scratch again.

If you aspire to build a legacy, then yes, you should start thinking about it from day one. We know, it may feel like putting the cart before the horse, but planning for it goes hand-in-hand with your business practices now. It’s about building the right culture in the business that will live on.

“Make a difference, change the game for the better, leave a legacy, be a guide that someone else can follow and make better, and then someone else will follow that and make that better.” ― Carlos Wallace, The Other 99 T.Y.M.E.S: Train Your Mind to Enjoy Serenity


How to Start the Process

Putting a succession plan in place might feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Our experience proves that a formula for success takes you through four stages.


Stage 1 – Take stock of where you are now:

  • How is your business performing? What are the numbers?
  • Who are the key people? What talent gaps do you have?
  • Evaluate the processes and procedures for their effectiveness or redundancy.


Stage 2 – Create your masterplan for the future:

  • Where do you want to be in two, five or ten years?
  • What is your vision for the business at that time, and its potential opportunities?
  • Do you currently have the team you’ll need to make your vision a reality?
  • How much money do you need to implement the succession plan? If you don’t have the money, how will you solve that? Our blog, Life goal #3: Building a Legacy, gives more detail on the financial costs to consider.


Stage 3 – Implement your plan:

  • Put the structures in place and document procedures. Train people to follow the processes.
  • Invest in retaining your best employees and prepare them for their future roles.
  • Develop and train your team within the key positions.


Stage 4 – Review & tweak:

  • Test and adjust procedures and processes as needed.
  • Do a trial run to determine whether your team can carry on without you by going away for two weeks. Then extend another absence to a month, with no contact.
  • Send other managers on holiday and let people step into that position to see how they fare.


Ready to Get Started?

The team at BWMD would love to hear your ideas for what a legacy looks like for you. Our experience can help you put the processes, structures and team in place to make it happen. Contact us today to get started!

Life Goal #3: Building a Legacy

We’re taking you back to school with a fun little multiple choice question: 

  1. What is most important to you?
  • Keeping abreast with fads and trends
  • Building something of lasting value and impact

 For us, we’d choose to create a legacy every time. And we suspect you do too. 

How that looks like for each of us may differ, though. For some, legacy may be the difference they make in their community, for others it’s to help their employees reach their goals and dreams. Others want to build a service or product that provides great value to their customers. And others want to change the way people think about things – for the better. 

Having a vision of the legacy you want to create is only half the battle. You need a strategy to bring that vision into fruition and keep it alive for decades after you’ve hung up your hat. 

Part of building a legacy is to have a succession plan in place. Not only will you keep the vision alive, but you’ll also provide financial security for yourself and your family. If you don’t, all the love, sweat and tears you’ve put into the business over the years may go to waste. It will stop when you stop being around.


3 Elements of Succession Planning 

There are three important elements to succession planning. We can help you to plan for and put all of these in place so that your legacy can keep going for years to come:


1. Your Team 

Your people are the most important part of the plan. They form the backbone of the business; they’re the ones that keep the wheels turning – even if your business is highly automated. 

You want to retain your best employees and prepare them for their future roles, without your input. 

Don’t just think about top management, though, think about all seats on the bus. Who are your rockstars the business can’t do without?  What about the salesperson who knows all your clients’ life stories and children by name? What about the electrician who fixes problems you don’t even know you have? 

What happens if these rock stars aren’t around anymore? 

When building your team… 

  • Identify the right people for future roles. The next person in line may not be the obvious choice. Look further. You may have some young employees with the right attributes that you can develop – both technical skills but also the attitude and willingness to grow.
  • Next, talk to them about their career goals. Do they see themselves in the roles you have in mind for them?
  • If you have any talent gaps, start hiring the right people.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, invest in the training and development of your team.


2. Structures and Processes 

Who is responsible for what? How do you do x and y? 

Put structures in place and document procedures and templates so that everybody knows what they should do and how to do it. We call ours “This is the Way”. 

Once you’ve developed that, make sure you test them and train people to follow the processes.


3. The Money

Ah, the money. Often neglected and forgotten. 

Every change has a cost to it, and planning for succession is no different. You need a budget. 

Here are some of the costs to consider: 

  • Hiring costs: If you don’t have the right talent in-house you need to hire, and rock stars don’t come cheap.
  • Overlapping salaries: You may need to employ a CEO to work with you for six months or a year before you leave to teach them the ropes. This is true for other key positions as well. Not only will this provide a sense of stability, but when you leave, your team are already comfortable interacting with the new person.
  • Salary increases: To retain your rock stars and superstars you may need to offer higher salaries. The new CEO may demand more than what you have been willing to take home.
  • Staff development: One of the most important aspects is developing leadership skills and training your team on technical skills. You may even need to hire a coach to help guide you and your employees through the transition period.
  • Bonuses and benefits: A change in leadership often causes staff turnover because of fear of the unknown. You may want to offer bonuses and benefits to your rockstars that the business can’t afford to lose.
  • Replacement costs: Despite putting all the above in place, you may still lose some people. Make sure you budget for replacement costs.
  • Your accountant and other advisors: You need people by your side – experts who have expertise and experiences that you don’t have. You need an outside perspective. You need a confidant, to listen to your challenges and help you to solve them.


Ready to Build Your Legacy? 

Putting a succession plan in place can feel overwhelming. Whether you need help with your budget, putting structures in place, helping you choose the best team, or being your sounding board for your ideas, we’d love to help. 

Don’t try to go it alone.