Starting a business with your spouse in Illinois can be a rewarding adventure, no doubt. Going through the ups and downs of learning to manage an organization, strategizing together and enjoying the success of your hard work can provide immense satisfaction.

However, it is important to consider succession planning and where you wish for the business to end up should circumstances arise that result in the departure of either you or your spouse. Examples may include death or divorce. Accounting for these kinds of events may help you to secure the stability and future of your company despite life-altering circumstances.

Defining succession planning

Succession planning is an ongoing process that requires you to create an outline of your company’s future. Your task is to pinpoint goals for your organization and what is required to reach those goals. Now, picture your company as it currently is, without the support of critical players in its management. How will the company’s future look different? What can you do to maintain the trajectory you desire without these key players? Answering questions such as those will help you to identify whom you wish to train and educate in preparation for taking over key responsibilities if an emergency were to occur.

Putting success in succession planning

Forbes has some valuable suggestions for how you can optimize your efforts to plan the succession of your company and its management over time. These include the following:

  • Work backward: Look at where you wish for your company to end up and then select the talent and skills that are necessary to achieve that goal.
  • Be selective: Pay close attention to the people you choose to hire and provide rewarding incentives to encourage loyalty and longevity.
  • Consider your legacy: Identify how you wish your company to be viewed and how you wish to be remembered and integrate those characteristics and values into your plan.

Another important step you can take is to develop a progressive career path for employees who show promise within your company. Keep them informed and incentivized and provide support in helping them move from one phase to another.