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Succession planning

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Meet the future head on

Succession planning allows you to recruit and retain quality employees and develop their knowledge, skills and abilities. It also helps you prepare them for more challenging roles, and improve company performance even after your current leaders are long gone. And if you're thinking of moving on from your business, you'll need to choose the most appropriate option for you and your staff.

Some things to consider

If you’re thinking about a succession plan, consider what your organisation’s needs will be in the future. Think about future job roles that may not exist yet:

  • What’s the development strategy for your business?
  • Does it help you identify any potential skills gaps you have right now, or will have in the future?
  • What about your own talent pipeline? Maybe you already have people with the knowledge and skills to fill these new roles.

Get started

The good news is that pulling a succession plan together doesn’t have to be a major time commitment. Check out Investors in People's 10 tips. And you can:

  • Identify who needs to be brought into the planning stage. Once there, track their thoughts.
  • Identify the budding stars − potential is just as important as proven talent. Give them projects in different teams to widen their experience.
  • Understand the future requirements and strategy of the business.
  • Make the plan coherent and communicate it − just don’t tell employees who is being ear-marked for higher things.
  • Put contingency plans in place for critical roles in your business.

Time to move on? What's next for your business?

You’ve worked hard and now you’re ready for the next chapter. Give yourself plenty of time to think through your options. This will help you secure the future for your business and employees. Access a free one-to-one review with one of Scottish Enterprise’s experts. You can check out a series of videos that outline possible choices. Below are some brief tips from Scottish Enterprise. To read more, visit their website or talk to one of their advisers.


Flotation is best thought of as the beginning of a journey for a company with a very bright future - rather than as a happy ending for a successful entrepreneur.

Employee buyout

The EBO shouldn’t be overlooked as it rewards employees for their contribution to the business over the years. It fosters stronger employee motivation and productivity often improves.

Ownership transfers within a family

Separating the various interests and teasing out the true objectives of each party is best done by an independent person – someone who is not emotionally involved.

Sale to a shareholder

Selling a business to another shareholder is not a common option but when it happens it’s likely to be quick, ease and cheap. However, check the company’s Articles to see if it’s possible.

Management buyout

Finding enough money to buy out the owner is often the problem – but payment can be deferred, the buying team can arrange funding or bring in a new member.

Trade sale

A trade sale can create uncertainty among employees, customers and suppliers, so vendors invariably benefit from having an experience adviser by their side.

Company buyout

A buyout can only be done if the company has sufficient funds to make the purchase and a vendor is advised to get clearance from HMRC in advance to ensure the proceeds will be treated as capital income.

Whats next?

Need help? Call our employer helpline on 0800 783 6000 and an Employer Engagement Adviser will be in touch.

If you want free resources and more information about succession planning then visit Investors in People for more guidance.

Or get free advice from Scottish Enterprise.

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