Maintaining a successful perpetuation plan is essential for any business. Unexpected circumstances crop up all of the time, and if you are not prepared, the future of your firm can be severely compromised. A lot of business owners assume that they can start planning their exit six months before they leave; this is a recipe for disaster. Ideally, you need to give yourself at least five years, and below we will inform you of where you need to be at the five-year stage, three-year stage and the one-year stage.

Five years out

If you can see yourself leaving your business in around five years, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your options. You need to consider your business goals and your personal goals carefully. You don’t only need to think about the perpetuation of your agency; you also need to be aware of your own financial situation. Do you see yourself taking on a hobby or another career when you move on? What do you want to do with your life? Do you depend on the sale of your business in terms of your finances? Some of these questions can seem difficult to answer, but it’s important to be honest with yourself so that you can logistically prepare for how things are going to go.

Three years out

At the three-year mark, you need to have a good idea of the route you are going to go down. You need to have a plan in place and everything organised with your consultants, financial helpers and legal team. Communication is key at this stage; you need to ensure you are communicating with all of the key people and that you are using this to move your strategy forward. At this point, you must have identified a successor – this doesn’t need to be an individual per see, it could be a company or a number of people. These need to be talented individuals that are in a position to financially carry your business forward. You should be looking to attract and develop high-performing young professionals at this point – those who will take your business to new heights. If you do intend to sell your business, determining who your possible players will be is important.

One year out

Now that you only have a year left, your plan must be solidified. You need to get something in writing that states who is involved in the process and how it is going to go. This will ensure that everyone has a clear idea of what is happening and that they are all working towards the same goal. If you intend to sell, you really need to get to grips with the industry and where it is going, for example, if rates are going up or down, or if the industry is getting more difficult. This is crucial for both your clients and your employees, as you could erode your integrity if you fail to do so.

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