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The study found that there was a gap between perceived and actual status of succession planning in the SMMEs studied. It further revealed that there was no preference to recruiting from outside versus developing inside talent in preparation for succession planning. This finding can provide guidance to other SMME owners while making their succession planning, while it provides opportunities for managers. Most of the top managers surveyed indicated that they will be retiring in next 5 years and indicated that company had no succession plan or exist strategy. This finding has serious implications for the SMMEs studied and must take succession planning very seriously, otherwise they will come to a halt suddenly when the leadership leaves the enterprise for whatever reason, either due to natural death or otherwise. SMMES studied did not put plans in place to groom, train and develop top managers. As a way forward some strategies that can be followed to address the key variables are:

Business Strategy: An organisational structure should be implemented so that employees know who is next in line and what is expected of them, so that if anything is to happen to top management that company can still carry on. Exiting top management and shareholders should have contingency plans in place to ensure that the business can outlive them and that they have a proper exit strategy in place to carry over shares to the new management or new shareholders. The business strategy can add great value to a company if it needs to be sold.

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