Almost two-thirds (64%) of small business leaders in the UK do not have a succession plan in place, according to research.

Small business lender Aldermore polled 1,002 responses from decision-makers and found most had no clear plan in place to ensure their business operates smoothly following the loss of key executives.

A similar number (62%) had not planned their exit strategy, while 29% of respondents believed the only way they would leave is if their business was liquidated.

Of those who have a succession plan, 48% intend to either hand the reins to other senior executives (25%) or to family members (23%) in the next four years.

More than one in five (21%) decision-makers hope to sell their business to another company in the same period.

Carl D'Ammassa, managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said:

"Running a business can be very time consuming, so it's vital a succession strategy is planned out to ensure businesses do not suffer when changes to key executives occur."

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