If the recent study conducted by ATB Financial is to be believed, succession plans are not really a priority for Alberta SMEs. Perhaps wrongly, they prefer to focus on growing their business and personnel management.
For a company to not have a succession plan runs the risk that it may not continue to operate once its founder retires. Yet this is the choice of most SME owners in Alberta, too busy to manage their business in the short or medium term. Although 42% of them are 55 years old or more, retirement seems quite far away for many of them. To date, only 7% of the province’s SMEs have a formally written succession plan while 6 SMEs out of 10 have none. Assessing their business and searching for a viable successor seems to pose the greatest problem.
Undertaking a succession process takes years and planning it is often the best way to achieve a smooth transition and maximize the company’s potential value. In Alberta, there are other preoccupations (finding staff and talent management) and business leaders are quite optimistic about the future. Also according to the ATB Financial study, 87% of them see their business staying at the same level or even growing over the next six months.