Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession

A Primer for CEOs

Non-Fiction - Business/Finance
104 Pages
Reviewed on 10/10/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Abby Donnelly is the founder of The Leadership & Legacy Group. She works with CEOs and C-Suite leaders to effectively navigate the leadership challenges that come with succession and exit.

We all know that every business owner will exit their business one day, but will they exit on their terms?

As an executive coach for over 18 years, Abby has worked with hundreds of CEOs who were not prepared for the leadership side of succession or exit. She wrote this book to offer them a roadmap to develop the leaders they need so they create the legacy they want.

Abby has had leadership roles at Procter & Gamble and Sandler Training (Greensboro). She serves on the board of several corporations and non-profits including First Bank (FBNC), the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP Greensboro) and Crescent Rotary Club.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

As a business owner, exiting your business and handing over the reins to the next person is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. It does not matter whether you are selling the business or simply retiring. It will still not be easy. However, with the right planning, you can ensure that you are prepared both emotionally and financially for this inevitable change. In Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs, Abby Donnelly provides a practical guide on how to ensure a successful exit and succession process. The aim of the book is to help you make sure that the business is ready for the transition, the people you are leaving in charge are ready to carry on without you, and most importantly that you are ready to exit - that you have a good plan for your life after the exit and you are emotionally ready for this big change.

Exit and succession planning is not something you can do at the last minute. For the sake of both the business and yourself, you need to start planning as early as possible. Getting used to the idea that one day you will leave the business for someone else to run prepares you mentally so that when it finally happens, it's easier to deal with. Abby is drawing from her more than 15 years of experience working with small to medium size business owners to guide you on this inevitable journey. Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs, by Abby Donnelly, is a must-read for business owners and senior management. Knowing that you left the business in good hands will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your retirement or whatever your next step is after exit. The book is not just about making sure everything is in place for the business to survive your exit, but it also covers the very important part of making sure that you too are ready. This is the part that is often ignored by most succession and exit planning manuals.

Gisela Dixon

Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs by Abby Donnelly is a non-fiction book aimed at CEOs of companies who want to eventually exit from their business. Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession has a narrow target audience and would be useful for people who are owners or CEOs of businesses. The book is divided into several sections and chapters that break down the subject into topics such as: planning for your exit taking into consideration the financial as well as emotional aspects of it; market strategy and goals; how to transform or sell a profitable business; planning and managing the exit taking into account factors such as timing, market condition, and personal goals; facing difficult truths and preparing for the challenges; transitioning and executive management, sale and planning for the future, and much more. Each of these topics is covered in detail and there are also numerous exercises provided that can help provide clarity for readers for their own individual path and strategy. There are also some references at the end of the book which may be useful.

Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession is a good book, aimed primarily at CEOs. It is a fairly slim book and a quick read. For the CEO looking to transition from running their own business to handing over their business with a comfortable retirement, this would be useful indeed. The good thing about this book and the strategies provided is that it may be applicable to a business model of any size, whether small or big. Abby Donnelly writes in a crisp, quick, and no-nonsense style which is suited for a book of this type. Although the target audience for this book is narrow—since most people aren’t CEOs—I feel this book may be a useful read for any entrepreneur for their future business skill development and strategic planning.

Mamta Madhavan

Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs by Abby Donnelly is an insightful guide for all business owners to put them on the right track when it comes to setting the foundation, whether they plan to exit in a year or in 15 years. Apart from focusing on the financials while one is exiting, the book also stresses the importance of handling emotions and preparing the key people so that one can make a successful exit. The book will lead readers through every step and will pave the way for a healthy exit. The book will help readers achieve and maintain success, and will make the preparation, planning, and execution of the task a healthy progression.

The author speaks about a topic that has not been discussed very much and that makes this book unique and refreshingly original. The concept has been handled methodically and in a simple manner, making it easy for readers to comprehend and apply the advice. The exercises in the chapters make the book interactive and readers will be able to reflect on the concepts in a meaningful and rewarding way. Reading this book will help readers consider the implications of both the mental and emotional aspects of successful succession planning and exit. The strategies and techniques shared are good when it comes to navigating the challenges that arise when selling a business. This book will strike a chord with all business owners as it will help them exit well and get what they want from their hard-earned years of investment in the business.

Maria Beltran

Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs by Abby Donnelly is a slim non fiction book about business and finance. This may not sound all that interesting to many but the book is a must-read for employers and employees alike. Divided into three sections, this book is a step by step guide on how every business owner should plan his or her exit from a company that has dominated their life for a good many years. The first section offers the crucial reasons why exiting a business should be well planned. The second section gets down to the nitty gritty by discussing the minutest details of a good plan, and the third section looks optimistically to the future.

Abby Donnelly's Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs is a highly relevant book because surely every owner will exit his or her business one day. The only difference is that some do it a lot better than others. And here is a concise and well structured primer that explores the future, not only of the business left behind by its owner but also of the businessman himself or herself. Designed like a workbook, Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession urgently calls for action because the truth is, the sooner you plan your exit from your business, the better it will be. As such, it is very informative to employees too who might one day run the business themselves. Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession explores the succession scenario for small and medium size businesses, and it does so by covering all aspects of what could be a traumatic event and turning it into something that is absolutely inspiring!

Christian Sia

An informative, practical guide for any businessman or businesswoman considering the transfer or sale of a profitable, sustainable business, Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs by Abby Donnelly is a must-read. Succession planning is one thing that business owners often think about. As long as they run their business now, the rest will follow, perhaps someday. But in this relevant guide, the author draws from experience of assisting companies for years to underline the importance of working on succession planning now. In this book, readers will understand why most succession planning won’t work, identify factors holding them back, know why it is absolutely important to start planning now, and find the information, tips, and tools to make it work for them.

Abby Donnelly's writing is fluid, concise, and straightforward, and her ability to write with clarity is solid proof that she knows what she is talking about. This is a workbook filled with information and questions that will help readers determine the right path to take. It features areas for notes at the end of each chapter. The book is well edited, easy to scan, with relevant insights that will have readers, especially businessmen and businesswomen, taking the right steps for the future of their business. Straight Talk About Planning Your Succession: A Primer for CEOs teaches entrepreneurs the art of properly handling their emotions, offers them the secrets to preparing the right people, shows them how to prepare their business for successful succession, and offers actionable, step-by-step tips and strategies for a successful exit. You need this book if you’re an entrepreneur or if you have a small-to-medium size business.