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You can't predict the future - but you can plan for the unexpected

December 15, 2021

You can't predict the future - but you can plan for the unexpected

Synopsis
3 Minute Read

The new year is the perfect time to secure the long-term future of your agricultural operation, through comprehensive and thoughtful succession planning.

Family Business Advisor

If 2021 has taught us anything, it’s that trying to predict the future with precision is probably a fool’s errand. Though we’re not out of the woods yet, many look towards the future with optimism as the effects of COVID subside and the inhibitions on business operations ease gradually.

While it’s easy to become discouraged or confused by all of life’s factors outside of your control, the new year should be a time to re-focus on the factors that are in your control. That will require careful planning for circumstances known and unknown, including succession planning.

While most of us envision a succession plan as something you implement leading up to retirement, it can actually be an excellent tool to help you prepare for any situation in which the owner or lead decision-maker in your agricultural operation becomes incapacitated. That makes it a great thing to have in your back pocket as we head into 2022.

What value does a succession plan bring to the table? Let’s break it down:

It forces you to plan for worst-case scenarios.

There are countless reasons why you may have to leave your business unexpectedly — and most of them aren’t pleasant ones. As a result, most business owners put off planning for unexpected illness, death or injury.

If you’re one of them, keep in mind that when you plan for these types of events, you’re not necessarily doing it for yourself — you’re doing it for your loved ones. If you had to leave the business suddenly, they would be dealing with stress, anxiety and, potentially, grief. A succession plan can help you make sure that “business confusion” isn’t added to the list.

It clarifies everyone’s role.

Part of succession planning involves identifying each family member’s role within the company and establishing a plan to fill business-critical positions down the road. This clear organizational succession framework also allows the business to maintain a sense of continuity in an emergency.

If you’re forced to step away, other members down the chain of command should be able to seamlessly step in — as everyone knows what needs to get done and what responsibilities need to be fulfilled.

It gets your family inside your head.

How many people in your family know where all your bank accounts, investments and contacts are held? Could they access your personal insurance information, or your will, if they needed to? Are they aware of your liabilities?

If you’re unsure about any of the answers to these questions, a succession plan can help. It offers an opportunity to take all the important information swimming around in your head and put it in a central, easily-accessible area so your loved ones can find it.

So long, 2021

The first two years of the pandemic prompted many people to step back, think big picture, and re-assess their priorities. What you do in 2022 could have a big impact on the long-term future of your family, your business, and your legacy.

 If succession planning sounds daunting, the good news is that it becomes manageable with the help of the proper tools. MNP’s TransitionSMART program provides comprehensive guidance to agricultural families and operators, to cover the business and financial impacts of a broad variety of scenarios. You can face unexpected events and contingencies with peace of mind.

 To learn more about how our firm can help you with your succession planning efforts, contact your local MNP office.

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