Succession planning can involve a lot of work, and it is rarely at the top of a business leader’s to-do list. However, it can be advantageous to begin succession planning early, so there can be plenty of time to train and mentor potential successors.

To help fit succession planning into your busy schedule, consider breaking it into manageable steps. A few steps that can help you get started include setting goals, identifying important positions, gaining the support of leaders, determining where you will find successors and creating career paths through the business.

Set defined goals

If you are not sure how to begin succession planning, it can be helpful to make sure you have clearly defined goals. Consider what legacy you would like to leave and what exit strategy might support that vision.

Identify necessary positions

Next, determine what positions are crucial for your business to succeed. For many businesses, the highest-ranking positions can have a bigger impact on the business’s success.

Seek support from current leaders

Discuss the succession plan with current leaders, and try to help them recognize the importance of this plan. Gaining the support of current leaders can be helpful because businesses will often experience a smoother leadership transition when an outgoing leader is able to train his or her own successor.

Determine where you will find successors

Selecting existing employees to be successors can save time and money. However, if you are unable to find suitable successors internally, you may need to look externally. Where you plan to find successor can alter the needs and timeline for your succession plan.

Create career paths

Implementing career paths through your business can help employees gain the skills needed to eventually become leaders. Making sure those career paths are visible can help employees picture themselves growing with your business, which may help prevent potential successors from seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Sometimes, getting started with a succession plan is the hardest part. However, it does not need to be daunting. If you break it into steps, succession planning can be a manageable task.