Michael Whitehair, DVM, Abilene, Kan., has helped numerous veterinarians across the country work through the process of succession planning for their businesses. He offers these tips for developing a plan of your own.

1.   Think long term. “It takes years to build a solid business, one that someone will want to pay true value for,” Dr. Whitehair says. “I like it best when someone has 10 years left in their professional business life and can take the time to effectively allocate time and resources to the planning process.”

2.   Include everyone. If your practice involves multiple owners, ensure everyone is involved in the succession planning.

“You must work together to determine the business’s purpose and value,” Dr. Whitehair says. “Then, from there, you can work together to develop a succession plan.”

3.   Ask the experts. Dr. Whitehair says it’s valuable to locate a professional you trust to assist with your succession plan creation. “It can be beneficial to utilize an accountant or attorney, someone who is more versed in the area of tax law and creating these types of documents,” he says. “It can be expensive. But in the end, it can give you a vehicle to get it right and avoid misunderstandings or problems.”