September 9, 2020   //   Business Consulting   //   By PKF Mueller Solutions


If you have ever had the chance to visit our website, then you have probably seen an image of a few baby turtles in the sand on our rotating home banner. You may be wondering, what do sea turtles have to do with succession planning, let alone a CPA firm?

First, let’s talk about sea turtles.

Most people know and understand that after a female sea turtle lays her eggs in the sand, those eggs eventually hatch, and the young turtles must find their way back to the ocean by crossing the beach.

Have you ever watched turtle hatchlings march their way towards the sea? If you have, did it seem like an easy trip? Probably not.

A young turtle’s fight for survival, especially early in life, is anything but easy. While hatching, they are simultaneously moving their way towards the water and avoiding being snatched up by predators, such as seagulls and raccoons, or getting caught in entanglements on the shoreline.

So, what’s the connection?

This journey from nest to sea is the crossing of a critical threshold… just the same as succession planning or exit planning is for a business owner.

As a new generation of leaders start stepping up to the plate, or in this case, start hatching and make their trek to the sea, every organization should be asking themselves, “What’s our strategy?”

Succession planning is one of the most important objectives for any business. It is the process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace elder leaders when they decide to leave or sell the business, retire, or pass away. In addition, succession planning enhances the opportunity for other experienced and capable employees and leaders to begin preparing for the roles they will assume when they come available.

For sea turtles, they remain in an incubation period for 45 to 70 days before hatching and moving towards the ocean. Although their mother leaves her nest for her hatchlings to essentially develop and prepare to fend for themselves, we do not recommend the same for human  business organizations.

For business owners and business decision-makers, it’s important to develop a succession plan and begin using the time left to delegate some leadership duties to the identified successor(s). This approach allows for the current leader to assist the incoming leader and grow until he or she can completely dive into the new duties.

Just as the reflection of the moon and stars direct newly hatched turtles to the sea, succession planning is your path or road map to an effective exit strategy. It also provides a way to cut potential recruitment costs and ensure that all existing operations are still in support of the overall goals of the business.

Succession planning, or having an exit strategy, can provide you and your business a way to identify key players with the right skills and positions that may need replacing soon. But, whether you have only a short span of time to find a successor, or years, it’s never too early to start planning for transitions.

Aside from key persons stepping in, developing a succession plan is important when selling your business to your business partner(s), a key employee, or an outside third-party buyer. This option often includes needing a business valuation which helps determine your company’s worth.

How We Can Help

At Mueller, we understand that as a business owner or key individual, planning to exit the business is an enormous change and possibly, one you had never thought about before.

Sea turtles leaving their nest is potentially one of the best illustrations of what it means to leave your comfort zone. But, remember if a young sea turtle has the courage to keep marching forward toward the shoreline, apprehensive about the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we are confident you too can reach your business goals with a proper succession plan and exit strategy.

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