Consolidations and acquisitions have strengthened dealerships in many ways, but also made it much more complicated to plan for the next generation of owners. And, even those smaller family dealerships may discover the next generation thinks their future is outside the dealership.

We did a quick poll on the topic and dealers shared concerns such as “No children and no young employees” and “Exit the business while you can go out on top.” Others shared that they are thinking ahead and have developed formal succession plans.

Wherever you stand on the topic, here’s an opportunity to start or fine tune your succession plan. Consider attending the 2015 Dealership Minds Summit: The Next Generation, January 13-14, in Cincinnati. The summit is sponsored by Lessiter Publications’ dealer-facing publications, Rural Lifestyle Dealer, Farm Equipment and Precision Farming Dealer.

Here’s how you can benefit.

  • It’s for dealers only. The Dealership Minds Summit is a chance for dealers to shed their colors and talk openly. How often are you able to talk business strategies with your peers — strategies that aren’t tied to your manufacturer? This is your chance.

  • It will expand your idea of a succession plan. For instance, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) may be an option for some dealerships that face a limited pool of buyers. A panel of dealers will share how they’ve implemented ESOPs.

  • Learn “insider” strategies from rural lifestyle dealers. For instance, Jeremy Ostrander, CEO of AgriVision, will be part of a panel discussing strategies for bringing in leaders from outside the family. AgriVision of Pacific Junction, Iowa, is formerly A&M Green Power Group, Rural Lifestyle Dealer’s 2013 Dealership of the Year. Bingham Equipment, Champlain Valley Equipment and Stotz Equipment are other dealerships on the agenda who earn strong revenues from the rural lifestyle market.

  • Real-world topics will be covered, including transitional wealth management, transition within the family, leadership development, financial metrics and more.

  • It’s worth it: 98.4% of the attendees from the 2013 Summit said they would recommend the meeting to other dealers. Bernie Chabot of Chabot Implements says this about his attendance in 2013, “I would do it again in a flash and bring more staff along next time. It was awesome.”

To start ideas percolating, join the LinkedIn group that’s been created specifically for the event. You’ll receive updates first about the event, topics and presenters.

Early bird registration ends on October 15. The keynote speaker is Floyd Jerkins of Jerkins Creative Consulting. He shares his success strategies on another important topic — sales — in this newsletter. Jerkins and his team have been consulting with dealers since 1991.

The Dealership Minds Summit is held only once every two years and features one theme for each event. Don’t miss out on this chance to ensure your dealership’s legacy.