Perhaps the single most challenging long-term issue for any small or medium-sized professional services firm, whether an architects practice, engineering consultancy or similar, is defining its future. Succession planning often brings a host of tricky issues to the table. As Partners age and veer towards the finishing line they begin to consider, often for the first time, their financial worth to the business. As founders or long-term shareholders, are they not entitled to some sort of compensation for the blood, sweat and toil they’ve invested in the practice over the years. However, others may paint a different picture. They may see the productivity of those same individuals wax and wane and begin to question their financial contribution to the business. Similarly, retaining top talent as junior professionals develop and transition towards senior roles and ownership offers another set of issues to navigate. By ignoring the views of the new generations business owners are by definition putting their plans at risk.
In short, business succession for professional service firms is inherently difficult. The reality is that most thriving practices depend on a handful of dynamic professionals who generate clients that make them succeed. The very thing that makes these groups successful – charismatic leadership – does not naturally lead into a next generation.
With more than 20 years’ experience counselling professional service firms through such sensitive issues we are able to guide a business through the process, ensuring all parties are comfortable with the final outcome.