This is a critical step since giving up control of a business is a major life event that can be extremely stressful. Not only do you need to examine your goals for how you want the succession of your business to take effect, but you also need to review your personal goals. What do you plan to do with your new found freedom? It’s best to start developing additional outside interests now in order to lessen the shock of switching gears.

In terms of the business succession, it is important to be realistic about what can be achieved including the fact that the new owner(s) may do things differently from you. The new ways are not necessarily better or worse; they are just different.

Where family businesses are involved, consideration should be given to the practicality of some members being more or less involved. Not everyone may wish to be involved in the business or involved in the same way or to the same extent as you might want. Therefore, there is often a need to do a sort of financial equalization to balance out how various family members will participate in the business now, or through the owner’s estate down the road, if it does not make sense for them to receive a share of the business.

In order to work through the goal setting stage, it can be helpful to consult professionals who specialize in this type of work such as life coaches or facilitators who can moderate discussions between interested persons. Lawyers, accountants and financial advisors are a part of the succession planning process but do not always have all of the skills necessary to get the best results.