Bradley J Franc - Increase the Value and Maintain the Values


28 November 2021

43 mins 32 secs

Season 2

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Bradly J. Franc (“Brad”), is the creator and author of the Amazon best-selling book entitled The Succession Solution: The Strategic Guide to Business Transition. His firm The Succession Coach LLC, works with business owners to create as well as execute on their succession plans.

Brad is an attorney, entrepreneur, and business strategist who specializes in the transfer of family and closely-held businesses. He is also a former board member of Catalyst Connection.

Brad began his professional career by becoming a CPA and working for the international accounting firm now known as EY. From there, Brad became an entrepreneurial strategic business adviser and a business lawyer representing every aspect of the closely-held business.

Standout Quotes:

  • "Writing is the highest form of thinking" - [Brad]
  • "It's not that there's a particular process but you pick a process" - [Brad]
  • "The longer you wait, the fewer the options you have, with respect to succession planning" - [Brad]
  • "You can't do strategic planning unless you understand the company's culture" - [Brad]
  • "It is incredible how many times people think they know what they have, and they don't" - [Brad]
  • "Conflict is good, it gets things out" - [Brad]
  • "All progress begins with honesty" - [Brad]
  • "Most people overestimate what they can do in a year, they underestimate what they can do in ten" - [Brad]
  • "If you want to improve something, measure it, if you want to improve something exponentially, measure it and have a report on it" - [Brad]
  • "Succession planning is a form of strategic planning" - [Brad]
  • "For things to stay the same, things must change" - [Brad]
  • "I try to tell that next gen, 'your job is to increase the value and to maintain the values' " - [Brad]

Key Takeaways:

  • Bradley is the author of the Amazon bestseller "The Succession Solution" and his firm, 'The Succession Coach' works with business owners to create and execute their succession plans. Brad is now an entrepreneurial strategic business adviser and a business lawyer representing closely-held businesses.
  • Brad had started as a CPA with the goal to reduce taxes, and later he went on to go to law school. He realized he was helping but not solving the problem so he merged strategic planning with Estate and Succession planning which formed the Succession Solution.
  • Initially, his goal was to simply put down the strategy so he could convince himself that it was feasible, however, he realized someone else could also benefit from reading it. This was how he went ahead to write his book, The Succession Solution.
  • After starting a business that had made losses for two years, Brad employed strategic planning and the difference was clear; the business bounced back.
  • There are 3 types of succession; Succession of Knowledge, Management, and Ownership. It is unlikely to be able to ensure the succession of management and ownership without the transfer of knowledge. However, more often than not. Succession involves the transfer of ownership with closely held business owners.
  • The Succession Solution: Brad usually starts by discussing with the significant stakeholders to understand what is on the ground before getting fully involved. He also ensures the family is willing to cooperate and gets commitment upfront.
  • The 6 stages of the succession plan: The first stage is the Purpose stage; identifying the basic values, the vision, and the "Why?". Next is the Discovery stage; understanding where they are before starting. The third step is the Challenge; to identify their strengths, opportunities, and most importantly, the obstacles. Most of the time what people want to get from the 6 steps is certainty because uncertainty creates anxiety.
  • Brad emphasizes that conflict is good however, how that conflict is managed is critical. Communication and trust are the reason most companies fail.
  • The fourth stage of the succession plan is the Mission stage. This is where the group sets milestones and creates strategies to overcome the obstacles previously identified. The Annual stage is next, and here the group decides steps that need to be taken within the next 12 months, to get closer to the milestones already set. The last stage is the Quarterly Review stage where the question is "what do we do in the next 90 days to get closer to the objective for the Annual stage?"
  • The conversation of succession planning is a function of the board, hence, while members of the younger generation can have a personal conversation with their parents as the business leaders, it is fundamentally expected that the board is well suited to answer these questions. It is also helpful to talk to the professionals.
  • Giving purpose to the outgoing generation of leaders in the family business is highly essential as it is a part of their transition. A good step is to create a family council for them to transition into, allowing them to offer more insight particularly on the culture and values of the business. The family office and council would also need succession planning.
  • Succession planning is a form of strategic planning, as such, families should consider commencing strategic planning right after planning for succession.
  • "The job of the incoming generation is to increase the value and to maintain the values" it is the job of the senior leadership to educate the upcoming leaders on the values of the business.
  • Lack of planning for succession can ultimately lead to a closure of the business or loss of key employees due to uncertainty.
  • Listeners who want to know how to get started with succession planning are encouraged to educate themselves first; Brad's book, "The Succession Solution" is a good resource. With adequate knowledge, they can also discuss with professionals.
  • Brad's letter to his children: Never stop reading; if you want to improve yourself, read books.

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:49] Introducing today's guest, Bradley J Franc.
  • [01:53] Brad shares his backstory.
  • [04:25] What inspired you to write your book, "The Succession Story"?
  • [05:52] Discussing the importance and role of Strategic Planning.
  • [09:10] At what point do you typically get involved in the business?
  • [10:50] The Succession Solution (6 stages of the succession plan)
  • [26:10] How can the upcoming generation approach the conversation of succession planning with the leader in the business?
  • [32:13] Do you also create succession plans for the family council?
  • [36:04] Consequences of poor succession planning.
  • [40:21] What do you suggest as a first step in succession planning?
  • [42:00] Brad's letter to his children.

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Episode Links

  • The Succession Solution — Bradly J. Franc (“Brad”), is the creator and author of the Amazon best-selling book entitled The Succession Solution: The Strategic Guide to Business Transition.