Catalyst for Change - Succession Plus

Which Employee Share Ownership Plan is right for your business? Watch our Free Webinar 

Catalyst for Change


Catalyst for Change

By , May 28, 2015

Why is it that as human beings we first need a catalyst in order to initiate genuine change in our lives? Is it because until the catalyst occurs it’s too easy to defer action until another day? We realise that action is needed but it’s not seen as urgent enough to actually require the effort today. There are a myriad of examples in our lives and we are all guilty of falling into this trap.

If we are unfit and/or over weight it requires effort and action to make the change to a fit and active life style. We realise that for our own good it’s something that we need to do, but we are busy or tired and so we put it off to another day, even though our lives often depend on making the change. We are now coming into winter and its cold outside, so it’s much easier to stay inside beside the heater or the fire than strap on our joggers and get some exercise. Until we are diagnosed with diabetes or suffer a heart attack it’s not seen as urgent enough and can wait until tomorrow or the day after that. It seems that as human beings, we almost need to be in crisis mode in order to break out of our comfort zones and initiate the change that we know is required in our lives.

These same characteristics also apply in our business and family lives. If we are struggling with cash flow or we don’t have a succession plan or we have staffing issues do we take action to remedy these as soon as they become an issue or do we try to ignore the problem until it is so bad that it can’t be ignored any longer? If we have a family business and there are communication and co-operation problems do we address them upfront or pretend not to notice until there is a “blow up”? Sadly in many cases it is the latter.

Most business owners have a succession planning need. If you are in any doubt about this ask yourself the following questions in relation to your own business.

  • Is your business ready for sale?
  • Have you set a retirement or exit date from the business?
  • Are you willing to transfer control of your business?
  • Do you have a personal wealth or financial plan?
  • Do you have current wills and enduring powers of attorney?

If you answered “no” to any or all of these then you need succession planning. Try also answering the following questions.

  • Are you concerned about cash flow?
  • Are you concerned about selling your business for the best price sometime in the future?
  • Are you concerned about protecting your business and family assets?

If you answered “yes” to any of these then you have a succession planning need.

Why then does it take a health scare or a divorce or a family “blow up” for action to be taken in this area? If you get out of bed one morning and decide that you have had enough of your business and want to exit as soon as possible, then your chances of realising the best price are probably pretty slim. The time to start planning and organising this event is when both you and your business are near the top of your game. Ideally three to five years out from your planned exit.

In the words of one of my clients “the time to start this stuff is when you love your business the most”. If you have already past this point, then start now!


Scott Patterson

Director | Succession Plus

Scott Patterson has extensive business and professional experience, including over 20 years as a principal of a highly successful public accounting and financial planning firm. His passion is working with clients to improve the value of their businesses, and create a more certain future for them, their stakeholders and their families.

Scott's aim is to deliver strategic thinking, tailored advice and integrated solutions for family businesses, SME's and agricultural enterprises.