When doing business succession planning, you should go beyond setting up the legal transfer of the business. If you really wish for your heirs to be successful once they take over the business, you should also include a business operations manual as part of your plan.
SCORE explains a business operations manual will give the person taking over your business all the information he or she needs to run the business. You will want to ensure it covers every essential element of operations.
Start the manual by providing some basic details about the business. You can give a brief history along with important details, such as utility provider information and contact information for your legal and financial advisors. Include business hours, emergency information and other details, such as your company URL and email address. This part of the manual will give some functional information your successor will need to operate the business.
The meat of your manual should cover everything the person needs to know to run the business on a daily basis. You can include an example schedule that covers when to do different functions of operations, such as taking inventory or placing purchase orders.
You cannot be too detailed in this section. Someone should be able to read this and operate your business by following the information.
You can include other information you feel is essential in the manual. For example, if you have a stray cat you feed every morning, then include it in the manual. Remember, you will not be there to assist with the running of your business, so you have to include every detail in the manual to give your successor the best chance at success.