With respect to the personal element of succession planning for the business owner, the same information is needed as for estate planning. Existing the business is going to cap the value of your interest in the business and establish limits on financial expectations going forward.
In terms of the business itself, there needs to be as complete a picture as possible. Some of the relevant information includes:
- Form of business – e.g. corporation, partnership, sole proprietor
- Number of employees, copies of contracts
- Nature of the business – what does it do?
- Revenue streams
- Fixed and variable expenses
- Major suppliers
- Major customers
- Major competitors
A useful exercise for any owner contemplating succession planning is to have the business evaluated for saleability even if the plan is to transition it to a key employee or family member. There are professionals who provide this service. There are also resources online to help you understand the relevant issues and then work with professionals.