Survival Skills

by Michael A. Branton, Consultant; FMI, Raleigh, NC,
Curry W. Kirkpatrick, Managing Principal; C.W. Kirkpatrick & Associate, FMI, Irvine, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 6, Pg. 68-69

Document Type: Feature article


Thinking of what will become of a firm once an owner leaves is an important topic what many owners of firms choose to ignore. As a result, many firms fail soon after ownership is transferred. While most owners possess life insurance policies to take care of their families, they have only vague plans drawn up for their firms which they have spent most of their lives pouring energy into. Most of those plans are ususally no more than a simple will leaving the business to a spouse, partners, or trusts. This is not a real solution to a complex problem. The reasons for the negligence are mostly psychological. The five-step process described in this article can help owners to lay groundwork for a successful business continuation and management succession plan. If you can envision what the future ought to be for yourself, your family, the key people in your business and your fellow stockholders, there are techniques that will allow you to meet your objectives. Insist on answers that will work and focus on the people element rather than the financial or tax minimization objectives. Don't accept reasons why your vision of the firm's future can not be realized.

Subject Headings: Owners | Lifeline systems | Insurance | Legal affairs | Human factors | Taxation

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