Family business succession takes an average of 8 years to complete. When your plan is based on your ownership values, legacy, 10-year vision, and ownership philosophy, it will maximize opportunity and minimize risk for your family and business.

Here is how you do it:

  1. Determine your ownership values

  2. Determine your ownership legacy

  3. Determine where you want ownership to be in 10 years

  4. Define your ownership philosophy

  5. Decide what needs to happen in the next three years to stay aligned with your values, accomplish your legacy, maintain your ownership philosophy, and 10 year vision.

  6. Define the 3-5 things you must get done in the next year. Write them so they are specific, measurable, and attainable. These are your one year goals.

  7. Define the 3-5 things you must get done in the next 90 days to accomplish your one year goals. Make sure they are specific, measurable, and attainable.


One family business ownership group I worked with determined their values, legacy, what they want things to be like in 10 years, and their ownership philosophy, this was their plan:

3 year plan:

  • 15% of the ownership bought by the next generation

  • The outgoing generation have a plan for how they would spend their time when they were retired

  • Buy/sell agreements updated

  • Valuation of the business complete, price agreed to, and financing determined

  • Annual family vacation has happened once and is set to happen yearly

  • Buy/sell agreements and bylaws align with values, legacy, and ownership philosophy

  • HR policies align with ownership philosophy

One-year goals:

  • Decide if they want one or two opinions about the valuation of the business and who that person/persons will be

  • Update buy/sell agreements and bylaws to reflect the values, legacy, and ownership philosophy

  • Schedule date for family vacation

90-day commitments (one person is accountable for each one):

  • Next generation owner - read a book about family business valuation and have an opinion about how many separate valuations they want to get for the business

  • CEmO - Chief Emotional Officer– have a family meeting and share that they want to have regular vacations, get feedback and buy in

  • CEO– gather buy/sell agreements and bylaws and get a copy to CEmO and next generation owner

Now that you have your plan write it down. Make a plan to meet with your entire ownership group once a quarter to review your values, legacy, where you want to be in 10 years, ownership philosophy, and plan. At that meeting your 90 day goals need to be done, use the meeting to make sure you all still agree on each of those items and set your next set of 90 day goals.

Next steps: