Simply put, succession planning is the strategy of passing on leadership roles, and often ownership of a company, to an employee or group of employees. Sounds simple, right? So why is this so difficult to do? – Its because there often isn’t the depth of leadership or skills within a small, often family-run funeral or cemetery business. It is also because many of us have problems letting go!
Not long ago, the NFDA and Foundation Partners Group published a study called “2020 Funeral Business Planning Survey” about the state of Succession Planning in the Funeral and Cemetery Industry. The study showed that more than 50% of Owners plan to retire within the next five years (25% within the next 24 months) and more than 50% of those have little or no plan!
In a profession where we preach preparedness and caring for others, we are failing ourselves and those closest to us all too often. We have all been there in those horrible moments when somebody is lost unexpectantly and the tragedy is devastating. – It’s much more pleasant to approach succession planning looking towards our golden years and enjoying the time doing the things we all love. – Whether it be for your estate or for your retirement, it is critical to have the succession plan of your business sorted out now.
When done properly and planned ahead, there are a myriad of options. When done after the fact and in ‘post-mortem’ it can be a horror show. – While we have been hearing about many high-profile acquisitions in our industry over the past several years, the market has become much more disciplined. Many who are looking to ‘get out’ in the next several years are going to find limited or no ‘takers’. The days of the consolidators buying anybody with a heartbeat are gone!
There are options, but you need to plan for them. The only point I wish to get across today is that you absolutely need to have a succession plan in place now! If you don’t, ask for help or start the conversation. If you don’t want to plan for your own benefit, do it for the ones you love and for the benefit of your community and your legacy. Planning can be exciting and a new beginning, but it can also be a devasting experience for those left behind.
If you need some help, give us a call and we’d be happy to have a conversation.
SOURCE: 2020 Funeral Business Planning Survey by Foundation Partners Group and NFDA