Sunday, July 12, 2009

Transitioning The Business

The greatest piece of advice panelists offered Sunday when it came to succession planning? Communication.

Know what each generation needs to succeed after the plan is in place, and communicate the plan effectively to everyone involved.

On an individual basis, panelist Delores Steinhauser shared her story of buying her father’s garden center in South Carolina, Wingard’s Nursery & Garden Center. They had an attorney draw up a contract to insure everyone involved knew the plan. They valued the business based on the inventory and set up a payment plan for rent of the property.

Her advice to other retailers? “Think through the details of how you want the transition to look,” she said. She also said to consider buying the business rather than one generation gifting it to the next.

Carinne Peters of JR Peters Inc. said her family enlisted the help of a consultant provided by a local university program supported by grant funding at Lehigh University. They were able to lay out the process of the transition for free.

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