There is a phrase from the saying ‘if you don’t plan, you plan to fail’. With businesses, having a solid plan is crucial in ensuring the sustainability and longevity of the business. However, having a solid plan without any proper backup for sudden changes will affect the business greatly.
So what is a succession plan? In general term, it’s basically a process where business owners identify ways in which they can develop new leaders who can replace them when they leave, retire, or in the event of a sudden death. Unfortunately, despite cautions, succession planning appears to be left to chance by many family-owned firms (Leon-Guerrero et al. 1998, Rue and Ibrahim 1996). In Malaysia, family ownership constitutes over 43% of the main board companies of the Bursa Malaysia from 1999 through 2005 (Samad et al., 2008).
Dr. Jesrina Ann Xavier is leading the project on Succession Planning & Generational Change: An Analysis of Ageing Entrepreneurs in Malaysia. She believes that there is a relevance of this study in order to focus on the particular variables that would facilitate transition. Many business owners in Malaysia, especially small and medium industries and enterprises, have little or inadequate knowledge on proper succession planning and are more focused on running the day-to-day business matters. Failing to have proper succession planning or asset planning could result in lengthy legal battles and partnership scuffles concerning distribution of assets, continuation of business and ownership.
Dr. Jesrina Ann leads a team comprising; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Leilanie Mohd Nor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Filzah Md Isa, Dr. Manimekalai A/P Jambulingam, Dr. Nan Jiang, and Manmeet Kaur A/P Gorchan Singh. In trying to determine the key factors influencing succession planning amongst ageing entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Is there a predicament that they face, which makes it impossible for them to decide on their succession planning? Or could it be the lack of trust on their planned successor. Besides that, the researchers want to differentiate and contrast the succession planning used by entrepreneurs of different ethnicities in Malaysia. By understanding the differences, the researchers can probe how these factors affects the second-generation entrepreneurs in business continuity.
However, there is a need to investigate the existing business practices in succession planning, especially amongst small and medium enterprises. By doing so, the researchers can propose an effective business continuity model that fits entrepreneurs from various ethnicities in Malaysia. With this research, Dr. Jesrina Ann and her team would be able to ensure no small medium business is affected by poor succession planning. This flagship project can become a guiding tool for small medium enterprises in Malaysia, to assist them in business continuity as well as the longevity of their business goals. This is why the saying, ‘if you don’t plan, you plan to fail’ is important chaperon to ensure that no more small medium businesses goes down the wrong path.