Successful succession planning

Patrick Barendse.

Second-generation Patrick Barendse is a production manager at Holambra-based potted plant nursery, where he and his brother Frank and sister Claudia took over the potted plant nursery from their father, Geraldo, in 2020. Here, he gives his opinion on succession planning.

“Business succession planning in ornamental horticulture is a much-discussed topic these days. Flower and plant-producing companies are increasingly becoming large-scale, complex operations. So, horticultural business owners need to think about what happens to the company when they pass it down to a new generation or a business partner.

Ornamental horticulture in Brazil is a relatively new sector of the economy. It began to expand in the 1980s after the Dutch people from Holambra set up their first flower auction.

Back then, many ornamental growers had little money but showed an incredible willingness to work hard and grow their businesses.

The pertinent question is how to efficiently start up succession planning efficiently. Here at Symphony in Holambra, we have been working on it for the past five years.

We have learned so far that there is no perfect formula to make the transition. Every family is unique, so every succession is unique. However, a few common steps can help pave the way for the next business ownership.

Step one: Making rules and establishing governance.
Before discussing the family’s patrimony, the important questions one should ask are: What are the strengths and weaknesses of future leaders in the family or the business?

If one of them is not interested in working for the company, who else can take that place?

What´s the best role for each person in the company?

It’s about asking questions on all matters so that you can avoid a conflict in the family partnership. Put all your answers on a piece of paper and sign it.

Step two: Patrimony succession
There is no need to rush on this part. However, it is very important that business succession takes place when the successor still has a clear mind and the family is in harmony. Nothing is certain in the future.

The formalities mentioned above must be done to complete the process. Still, real succession occurs when the old generation passes the company’s aim and the owner’s life experience and when they connect with the new generation’s fresh vision that helps create the company’s future DNA. Always remember that what got you here might not get you to the future.”

This opinion was first published in the October 2023 FloraCulture International.

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