Leaving Your Legacy Behind: What to Do for Your Business

  • Prioritize employee security and create a succession plan to ensure your legacy is left in good hands when you retire.
  • Train successors by providing them with on-the-job training, attending seminars/workshops, and fostering strong mentorship.
  • Stabilize retirement funds by creating an emergency fund, diversified investment portfolio, and considering a retirement pension plan.
  • Retirement can be overwhelming, but with the proper preparation, business owners can rest assured knowing that the future of their company is secure.

Business owners have to retire for a variety of reasons, both personal and professional. As individuals grow older and their life circumstances change, they may decide to retire from their businesses to pursue other interests or spend more time with family. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), one-third of small business owners are between 55 and 64 years old. Many of these owners will soon be retiring, making it vital for them to consider what they need to do with their businesses before they leave.

Retirement can cause a significant disruption in the marketplace, as many small businesses are unique in the products or services they provide larger companies cannot easily replace that. Therefore, if an owner retires without planning, their business may suffer irreparable damage or even close down entirely. To avoid this fate, it is essential for any business owner nearing retirement age to create a comprehensive plan for handing over control of the company and ensuring its long-term success after they have left the scene.

Retirement is inevitable, but what you do for your legacy will be in your control. Here are a few things to do for your business before reaching that stage.

Prioritize Employee Security

Most of the time, selling the business is the only step for retiring owners to consider. However, it can be highly beneficial to prioritize employee security before any sale occurs. If you’re looking to sell the business, ensure that your employees’ jobs are secure and that they will have enough information and training to do their job effectively with the new owners.

Unfortunately, buyers might not be willing to take on the responsibility of existing employees, so you can offer them generous severance packages or job placement assistance. Additionally, consider creating an employee buyout plan to allow your employees to become owners themselves and continue what you have built.

Create a Succession Plan

A retiring owner with his successor

What you built might be stable enough to stand on its legs even after you depart. As a result, you might want to make it a generational or family business through a succession plan. This allows for a smooth transition of ownership and management, allowing your legacy to remain in the hands of those you trust with the future of your business.

However, it might be a problem if two or more children are fighting for their rights as owners. To avoid this, consider estate planning and draw out a fair succession plan for everyone involved. You might have to hire a trust litigation attorney to help you with this process.

Train Your Successor

Training a successor is essential for any business owner looking to retire and ensure that the business remains successful after they have left. Training your successor will provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that the company continues to prosper despite any personnel changes.

It is essential for business owners to spend time training their successors, so they can continue running the business effectively when the current owner retires. There are several ways to do this:

On-the-job training

On-the-job training is a great way to give successors hands-on experience and teach them how the daily operations of a business should be handled. Business owners can have their successors shadow them during everyday tasks so they can understand how their decisions impact the company’s success. Additionally, taking a newcomer on client visits or meetings with vendors can provide invaluable insight into how relationships should be maintained for a business to remain competitive and profitable.

Industry-related training programs

Another way for successors to gain knowledge is by attending seminars or workshops related to their industry. These events offer insight from experts in many areas of business, such as marketing, finance, and human resources management. They also present networking opportunities with other professionals in similar fields who may aid your successor as they take on leadership roles within the organization.


Finally, mentoring can benefit both parties involved and help foster strong working relationships between current owners and their successors. Mentorships incorporate elements of both on-the-job training and seminars/workshops by having experienced individuals teach newcomers about all aspects of running a successful small business. During these sessions, mentors should focus on teaching practical skills such as developing strategies for growth or managing difficult situations while still giving their mentees autonomy over decision-making processes within the company.

Stabilize Retirement Funds

Collecting enough for stable retirement

Retirement planning is vital for any business owner. When transitioning out of business, it is essential to ensure that you have enough funds in place to live comfortably during the post-retirement years. Therefore, it is crucial to create a retirement plan early on and manage your finances effectively so that when the time comes, you’ll have everything set up for a successful transition into retirement. Here are a few tools to help:

Emergency fund

An emergency fund is a significant part of any retirement plan and can help ensure you have enough money to cover unexpected post-retirement expenses. An emergency fund should be separate from your other retirement accounts so that funds are easily accessible in the case of a financial crisis.

Investment portfolios

Creating a diversified investment portfolio can also be beneficial for managing funds over time. Investing allows retirees to earn passive income from their investments, making it easier to manage finances during their retirement years. Additionally, many investment advisors offer services specifically tailored toward helping individuals create and maintain successful retirement plans.

Retirement pension plans

Finally, retirement pension plans are another great tool to help manage funds during retirement. A pension plan is typically offered by an employer and is a form of long-term savings that provides retirees with a steady source of income when they leave their jobs.

Final Thoughts

Retirement can be exciting and bittersweet in equal measure, but business owners should make sure to plan so that their legacy is left in good hands when they go. By prioritizing employee security, creating a succession plan, training successors, and stabilizing retirement funds, owners can ensure that their business continues to thrive after moving on. With the proper preparation, business owners can rest assured knowing that the future of their company is secure.

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