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Succession Resource Group is a boutique succession consulting firm based in the Pacific Northwest, serving clients across the country. SRG was founded by David Grau Jr., MBA in 2012 after nearly a decade of helping advisors with valuation and succession planning. SRG's team of experts leverage their industry expertise, combined with best-in-class resources, to help advisors, agents, and accountants manage the equity in their businesses...

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5 min read

Powerful Succession Planning Tools You Need

Nov 5, 2021 3:00:40 PM

The creation of a succession plan for your business should not be considered an optional exercise. It’s a task that owners and executives must complete for the sake of their employees and shareholders. Think of it in terms of establishing a legacy for yourself.

To assist you in succession planning for your firm, Succession Resource Group has assembled a number of useful tools and downloads which you are welcome to take advantage of. For your convenience, we’ve listed some of them below.


Why Do You Need Succession Planning?

Preparing for the premature death of an owner or partner is an obvious motive for succession planning, but it’s not the only reason. Investors also look for a succession plan when making the decision to back your company. Recruits want to see one also.

Anyone considering a long-term partnership with a business, whether that’s in a financial capacity or as an employee, wants to be assured that the company has a plan in place if anything happens to owners, executives, or board members.

Succession planning should also include a hierarchy of company employees. Who moves up when someone else moves out? Roles should be clearly defined for every business.

Another area where succession planning is necessary is in the event of a merger or acquisition. These plans are more difficult to prepare in advance since they usually require input from both buyer and seller, but there’s no reason you can’t have a general framework in place now.

When Should You Begin Succession Planning?

Startups should build a succession plan before they raise their first dollar in seed money or venture capital. The world we live in is unpredictable and no one is promised a tomorrow. Succession plans should be part of the DNA of your firm.

Unfortunately, many existing firms, particularly those that started as sole proprietorships, do not have succession plans in place. This is a mistake. Even if you’re on your own, there are still assets and liabilities that need to be accounted for after you’re gone.

There’s no time like the present to get started on this if you haven’t done so already. Read through the resource and succession planning tools list we’ve included below and contact our firm today if you need assistance. Succession plans are what we do. Use us to make sure yours is done right.

Contingency Planning for a Smooth Transition

Even the closest friendships can fracture when there’s money at stake. Partnerships begin with like-minded individuals who share common experiences and a vision for what their new company will look like. When others join in that endeavor, the dynamics change.

This is why contingency planning is so important. Think of it as the first tool in your succession planning toolbox. Your entire leadership team should take part in this. Define responsibilities and designate replacements for each of your company’s leaders.

The best time for the development of a contingency plan is when your company first launches. You can expand on it each time you add new employees. Just make sure that expectations and employee positions in the company are clear. Our team can help with the following:

  • Consulting: The succession planning process for RIAs and registered reps is different from that of other businesses because there are client assets and company assets involved. Here at SRG, we have experience with the financial services world and can help you make the right decisions to ensure a smooth leadership succession and transfer of managed accounts.
  • Form Contracts: If succession is necessary because of your premature passing, you will not be there to argue the validity or legality of any documentation you put together on succession preferences and guidelines. Such documents should be prepared and organized as early as possible. This is one of the key areas where our team can help you.
  • Planning Strategies: Signing a planning succession agreement is the organizational step in this process. There needs to be a strategy in place to guarantee that your wishes are carried out. This requires employee engagement and full adoption by your management team. Our organization can help you identify who will have key roles in that process.

One of the most important succession planning tools we offer on our website is a contingency planning checklist. Download it today if you’re currently doing succession planning for your business. Contact our team of experts if you need help with the process.

Analyzing the Bench Strength within Your Organization


Who gets to sit in the big chair when you’re gone? Another key area to evaluate in succession planning is the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. This is known as analyzing your bench strength. Successors should be selected based on the results.

Planning succession is more than just naming names. You want to make sure that whoever comes after you is able to handle running the business the way you want it done. This is an obligation that all advisors have to their clients.

Establish a performance management program. This will help you ensure a successful transition and prepare your firm for a potential acquisition if that’s one of your goals. Download our Practice Acquisition Checklist for additional guidance in this area.

Like succession planning itself, there is no reason to wait on evaluating leadership potential. You may even want to consider the development of a leadership training program and skills evaluation exams for entry-level employees. These are great ways to discover and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.

Mentorship is a word you often hear when firms talk about the success of their individual advisors. Once potential has been identified, assign mentors to teach junior advisors how to effectively grow a book of business. Download our Guide to Increase the Value of Your Business for more information.

Elements of a Succession Blueprint

Another succession planning tool that we offer here at SRG is a succession blueprint. Our team can put together a unique and comprehensive succession plan for you by implementing a four-step process designed to thoroughly examine and achieve your business goals:

  1. Consult: We get to know your business, evaluate talent management and leadership skills, review the structure of your organization, and talk to employees about their experience with your firm.
  2. Prescribe: Using information gathered in Step 1, we construct financial models to measure the impact of executing our succession strategies and how that will affect each of the employees of the organization. We also look at tax implications.
  3. Plan: This begins with a detailed outline of our succession planning recommendations, complete with deadline dates and a Memorandum of Understanding that needs to be signed by all parties involved. Any objections or suggested changes are resolved here.
  4. Execution: Succession planning reaches its conclusion in this step, culminating with the drafting and signing of necessary documents and a final agreement by all parties to faithfully execute the terms and conditions laid out in those agreements.

Each organization that we work with is unique, so the process may vary. For instance, a partnership with just two advisors and no employees doesn’t require a talent management assessment. Succession planning is much simpler for them.

Personal Reasons for Succession Planning

Every journey has a beginning and an end. We don’t always get to choose the ending, so when we do, we should take advantage of it. How do you want to sail off into the sunset? There should be some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor at the end of the road.

Succession planning can help you write the ending to the story. You can choose to step away gradually, working less over time while still maintaining some control of the business.

David Grau Jr.

Written by David Grau Jr.

David Grau Jr., founder and CEO of Succession Resource Group, specializes in succession and M&A consulting for advisors. As a leading M&A consultant with a history of service in the United States Navy, David is recognized as a thought leader and accomplished speaker. He is prominent in the financial services industry, especially on topics related to M&A and next-generation strategies, having delivered over 200 presentations for organizations like the Financial Services Institute (FSI) and FPA.