It can be daunting or downright uncomfortable to think about what the future holds for one’s small business without the founder at the helm.
Some small business owners have a one-dimensional view, focusing only on succession planning at the highest leadership levels in the event that they are no longer able to run the business.
They do not stop to think about whether the values, principles, and beliefs they relied on to shape the business whilst they were in control will outlive them, regardless of who is running the show. Of course, for other small business owners, these kinds of philosophical debates are non-issues.
This breed of small business owner is very clear from the get-go that it will sell off the business for handsome profits at the right time, or that the business is just an interlude in the small business owner’s life until more attractive propositions come along. For these small business owners, the business is simply a means to an end, and thoughts about one’s legacy are irrelevant at best and sentimental at worst.
Small business owners who are concerned about creating a positive and enduring legacy need to have a wider and longer-term lens.
What do they want the business to be good at and known for 10, 20, 30 years down the line?
Is the business currently being administered in a manner that is congruent with this desired state (e.g. relationships with suppliers, recruitment practices, relationships with customers, approach to product and service development and delivery)?
What can be done now to improve this alignment?
How does the founder want to be remembered, and is their leadership and management style in harmony with this?
What small business owners need to understand is that their legacy is not something can be an after-thought. The prevailing organizational culture is likely to be perpetuated from one generation to the next, and your legacy is a product of what happens in the here and now.
So take a look at the business you have created – do you like what you see? Is this the legacy you want to leave behind?
Post By: Fadzai Munyaradzi