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When it comes to running a business, there is no one-size-fits-all model for success. Every enterprise presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and the best way to confront them will not be the same from company to company. However, one common thread ties all businesses together: the need for an effective succession plan.

Here are some essential tips on how to choose a business successor.

The company’s culture is the key to its future success.

The cultural foundations put in place during the early stages of a company’s development will often manifest themselves as its most valuable assets. Therefore, it is imperative to choose a successor whose personality is compatible with one’s own and who will perpetuate the same values that initially made the enterprise successful.

There’s no substitute for experience.

Many up-and-coming entrepreneurs have brilliant ideas, abundant energy, and infinite reservoirs of enthusiasm but lack one crucial ingredient: practical business experience. It takes years to gain the intuition essential to running a successful company, so a potential successor must have experience in the same field as their predecessor. No theoretical knowledge can ever replace practical hands-on experience as a business diagnostic tool. It’s also important to keep in mind that inexperience on the part of a new management team will inevitably slow down any progress that has been made and result in a downward spiral of business activity.

Asking the right kind of questions is half the battle.

A suitable successor always asks many questions, which can be both an asset and a liability in its own right. The value of well-posed questions is that they force the manager to take a long hard look at business issues from different angles and evaluate a range of other solutions. However, if the questions are not well-aimed or thought out, they can do more harm than good by confusing important issues or giving rise to the needless drama that might be used to advance an individual’s agenda. For these reasons, it is crucial to choose a successor who asks the right kinds of questions.

Ideally, a prospective successor should be in agreement with you about the direction of your company.

A good business manager is all about getting things done. That means putting forward ideas that effectively resolve problems and achieve goals. The interplay between these two facets of management is one of the most important elements to consider when choosing a successor.