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Succession Leads to Success

Everyone has been exposed to buzz-terms such as silver tsunami, great resignation, and quiet quitting. The problem with each of those is very few people take a look at what is most important in circumventing these issues – early warning signs.

A few months back our colleagues at The Century Foundation (TCF) and Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) reached out to discuss challenges our Directors at SEWN have encountered pre- and post-COVID at companies in Pennsylvania. The primary focus was around succession planning and employee ownership.

The outcomes in this conversation as well as their in-depth research resulted in the publishing of “The Challenge of Business Succession in Manufacturing and the Opportunities for Diversifying Ownership” by TCF and UMA. This paper highlights several areas where the silver tsunami of ownership transition could be curbed including stronger support for funding opportunities for minority owners and/or ESOPs.

It also addresses the strengthening of early warning systems, such as SEWN. We specialize in entering a company at the first signs of distress to help shift the culture, pivot the business, and provide a stable footing for the future. This can be accomplished through analyzing financial gaps, assessing operational efficiencies, implementing high-performance workforce strategies, providing technology evaluations, and ownership transitions.

An effective succession plan isn’t just about ownership transition though. Less 30% of family-owned businesses transition to family members. For example, if a company has not addressed their succession plan and an owner unexpectedly falls ill, chances of that company surviving diminish significantly leaving a family devastated, workers without jobs, and a greater community impacted. If the company had laid out these plans in a timely manner, the business could remain stable.

As TCF closed in their paper, “succession is a critical issue for the future of American manufacturing.” Allow SEWN to help your company plan for its future. Consider the repercussions to not only your business, but your workers and surrounding community who would be affected by your closure.


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