A wake-up call for companies of all sizes

19. July 2022

Or: Why it’s never too early for succession planning

“Often the vacation is planned more precisely than the succession,” says Ralf Niederdränk, managing director of GENAPLAN. He takes care of succession arrangements and executorships. A complex business field with many legal, tax and, above all, economic dimensions. A good part of his clients are entrepreneurs, the other part are private individuals and family offices. “The smart entrepreneur not only plans for his generational succession, but also makes provisions for the eventuality of an ad hoc failure,” says the expert. However, everyday life would often be different. In 2013, for example, the magazine “Spiegel” conducted a survey on who respondents would turn to when it came to inheritance issues. One-third responded with, “I don’t know.” Ralf Niederdränk wants to change that and founded GENAPLAN in 2014. Early planning, taking into account all risks such as serious illness or sudden death, is his business. “Every entrepreneur, no matter the size of their business, should be thinking about where they go from here,” the strategist said. It is planning work, however, in which there is no right or wrong. “The arrangement must be plausible and purposeful,” Niederdränk reports, “family conflicts and special features can thus be taken into account at the right time. “Succession planning is not a deal with death, but a careful strategy oriented toward the future that ultimately ensures family peace and financial security,” says Niederdränk, who worked in wealth management at a bank for nearly 25 years before founding GENAPLAN.

“My home is my client” Ralf Niederdränk has had his company headquarters and office at the Satellite Office Business Center in Hamburg for a year now. He spends most of his working time at and with his clients, who are located throughout Germany and Switzerland. Otherwise, he works either in his home office or at his workstation at Satellite Office. “GENAPLAN is a service provider in the premium segment. My clients and business partners such as banks, law firms, tax consultants and management consultants are also exclusively in this segment,” reports the financial expert. A good address, preferably within walking distance of his business partners, is important to him, he says. “The choice fell on the Satellite Office in Hamburg because I have to pay extreme attention to a good environment and perfect office service,” says Niederdränk. The address “Neuer Wall 10” is considered reasonable in Hamburg. Sometimes he uses the conference room with a view of the Alster, because meetings with eight or more people are not uncommon. “Often bankers, clients or even sometimes art experts come together to estimate assets,” the financial expert reports. He likes to use the fireplace room with its cozy atmosphere for confidential discussions, which are very frequent in this business area. He also appreciates the Satellite Office in Zurich: “Right in the middle of the banking district, directly on Bahnhofstrasse, that’s very attractive for me, I like to use that,” he says about Satellite Office’s newest location. For Ralf Niederdränk, the flexibility and competence of Satellite Office is a key to success. “I can use the space, the service and the equipment whenever I need it,” he says, which is already a great solution for him.

About the brave new world of work

“Employees in large companies will continue to be tasked with “furniture guarding,” Niederdränk smiles, looking at the work patterns of the future. He is one hundred percent convinced of this. Manufacturing companies, such as automakers, will also retain fixed locations and fixed jobs. “Collaboration, after all, is created and functions through physical presence,” he said. In the service sector, however, in which GENAPLAN is also active, there is much, much more to be done in the direction of flexibilization, shared offices and digitalization. “Here we are still at the very beginning”, says the expert. He talks about offers called “work away” that aim to lure entrepreneurs to the sun, for example to Mallorca. In perfectly equipped offices, entrepreneurs can run their business out of the sun with just their laptop and cell phone number. Those are some prospects, you brave new world of work!

Thank you very much for the interview.

The interview was conducted by Annette Kissing for Satellite Office.