$uccess in Succession Planning

Business experts agree that a good succession plan is a key component of a larger business plan written at the company's inception or when a new owner takes the helm. The key is not to confuse a succession plan with an estate plan or a death contingency strategy that's needed only in an emergency. An effective plan should result in a seamless transition, regardless of the store owner's exit strategy. “A succession plan is the continuation of success,” says David Ciambella, a partner with The Rawls Group, which specializes in succession planning. “Developing and implementing an exit strategy can take as little as three years or up to 10 years or more. But ideally, it should be part of a company's daily business practices.” A succession plan goes into effect the day you hire your first staff member, or the first time you're called “boss.” Today's entry-

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