We have an overarching framework that we use when working with a business owner. We start with a business assessment to visualize the ideal transition. For many business owners this will be enough for them to create and implement their own succession plan, for others we can collaborate with them from start right through the ownership transition and provide support afterward.

Sheepdog STRATGIES’s Framework


  • Business assessment: current state (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
  • Outline ideal transition: Vision for current ownership
  • Where a sale is the vision: price, timing, buyer type, post-sale
  • Business readiness assessment (gap between vision and current state)
  • Estimated process, resource requirements, and cost


  • Business valuation and deeper current state assessment
  • Brainstorm: what options are possible that may not have been previously considered?
  • Gap analysis: what’s needed to close gaps between ideal transition and current state?
  • High-level plan: timeline and actions
  • Identify team


  • Detailed plan to close gaps: strategy and structure review and update
  • Prepare ownership and employees for change
  • Plan implementation


  • Change management (owner, employees, customers, suppliers)
  • Internal transition: agree structure and process, plan training
  • External sale: plan and implement marketing, screen buyers, manage negotiation process
  • Post-transition support
Ideally, we like to start working with clients 1 to 3 years before a business transition takes place. The above modules would be spread across this time frame, with our involvement with each client varying depending on need.

Business owners and sheepdogs use their training and experience to operate effectively, and will disrupt things when change is needed. 

Board Succession Planning

Effective Board succession planning not only helps Boards better represent their members but also grow their membership and add member value.

We can help in several areas:

Develop systems to improve Board governance, effectiveness and communication to members
Develop systems to identify, assess, and recruit Board members
Put effective Board structures in place, including clear roles, responsibilities, terms, and reporting structure
Support development of key materials, including reports, organization charts, biographies, etc.
Support strategic and annual plan development

Speaking Engagements

We are also available to speak at conferences and other events.

Speaking topics include:

Anna De Paoli

  • Why is Succession Planning so hard?
  • Beyond producer associations – collaboration, a much-needed commodity
  • The Changing Nature of Agriculture, defining Agriculture for the Millennial generation

Alastair Patterson

  • The first step is the hardest – starting your succession plan
  • My family doesn’t want the family business – now what?
  • Is selling the family business enough to get the retirement I want?
  • How to make your business attractive to buyers
  • What buyers are looking for in a business

Shelia Carruthers

  • Board Succession Planning
  • Board Assessments: what to do with the results?

Get in touch

We look forward to hearing from you!


(403) 471-9491