Succession planning is the process of choosing someone to take over your business after you retire. It is a crucial endeavor since the health of your business relies on quality leadership. RobertHalf.com offers the following succession planning tips so you can feel comfortable with your ultimate decision.

Even if retirement is still many years away, start thinking about picking your replacement now. Keep in mind it will take months or even years to get your selection up to speed on the ins and outs of your business. Waiting too long to make a decision deprives you of valuable time and might also cause you to make a pick you are not completely happy with. Make sure you involve your management staff as well to get a better perspective on the decision.

Once you have a few candidates in mind, begin developing mentoring relationships with these people. That way you can begin training on job skills while also assessing a person’s overall ability. For instance, does a potential candidate have the interpersonal skills to handle conflict? Is he or she diplomatic enough to deal with many different personalities? These are all significant factors in being a leader, and you want to honestly assess a person from multiple angles when making a pick.

Lastly, once you have made your decision allow your successor to handle a few work responsibilities. This will help you ease into the transition, as it can be hard for business owners to relinquish control of their enterprise. It will also assure you that you made the right decision, as you will be able to see your successor’s acumen firsthand. If you do not feel comfortable with your choice at this point, you can begin searching again.