Penny Murphy and two of her daughters stand in front of Pioneer Linens.
Penny Murphy and two of her daughters stand in front of Pioneer Linens.
Small Business
November 16, 2023

3 easy steps for small business owners to start succession planning

Who will take on your business? It’s a question many experienced entrepreneurs must wrestle with to keep their business and family legacy alive. Here are a few ways to start.

Pioneer Linens has survived hurricanes, recessions, and a seasonal economy for four generations. While beachy weather has come and gone in that time, someone from Penny Murphy’s family has remained at the helm of the fine linens retailer in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, for more than 111 years.

Longevity is a hallmark of many family-owned small businesses, but it takes planning. Deciding who succeeds in leading the enterprise and how they do it are critical to continuing the founder’s entrepreneurial legacy.

“I believe my children are as committed to this business as my father, my grandfather, and I have been,” said Murphy, owner and president of Pioneer Linens. “We have a beautiful store and a beautiful product, and we’ve worked hard to earn a good reputation. I think they’d be happy to [take it on].”

Here are three succession planning tips for family-owned businesses — or any small business looking to foster future leaders and extend its life.

For generations, the family hasn't just passed on a store, but also a resourcefulness. From supplying literal pioneers to trendsetting merchandising, the family behind Pioneer Linens has continued a pioneering spirit for more than a century.