The Family Business and Succession Planning

The recently published Armstrong Watson Family Business Insight, compiled from our survey of over 400 businesses mainly across Scotland, Cumbria and Yorkshire, led to some interesting statistics from the Scottish survey respondents.

The Scottish respondents noted a much higher proportion of first generation owners still running the family business at 62% compared to the overall average of 53%.

Scottish family businesses also appear to be less organised with their succession plans with 45% of respondents not having planned or even considered any exit. This is against the overall average of 29%.

In taking first steps to address that, there are important questions to ask as part of any succession planning:

  • Are there family members that are both able and willing to take over the reins?
  • If the family are not interested, are there other Employees that might have the core abilities and could become the natural succession?
  • If neither, is the succession someone who needs to be recruited with that in mind?
  • What is the business worth?
  • Is it realistic to expect that Family/Employees could afford the optimum price?
  • Is an external trade sale the only viable option?

These are only some of the questions around planning for your succession in the business, but an important first start in assessing what may be possible. Do not however underestimate the value in the Family Business. As we conclude in our Survey Report:

“If you are a family business, stand up, tell people you are a family business and be extremely proud of the achievements you have already made and those yet to be realised!"

Thinking about life beyond your business? We know through our experience that the sooner you start plans for your exit, the more reward you will achieve.


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