A short story before we get to the point.
My parents just updated their wills and put some contingency planning into effect. This is a great time for them to do this, because their circumstances have changed. They have sold their house, and do not plan on living in any one place for longer than 6 months at a time.
Why should you care? Why am I telling you this?
Because, this is a GREAT example of how most small businesses are run. Yes, Entrepreneurs have grand ideas, and some planning, but the stuff that is more than a month or two away is fuzzy, and what is going to happen in 2015 is a guess by any stretch of the imagination.
Most business owners plan to adapt to whatever happens, and they don’t feel that writing it down is going to help them adapt. The problem with this thinking is that while writing your plan down may not help you, it will help the people you work with and having it written down can help keep you on your preferred path.
So before leaving on the next stage of their travels, my parents sat down with some experts and got their stuff in order. They are in reasonably good health, and fully capable of taking care of their affairs, so why do this now?
- They had not updated their plan in a while. In fact, their old wills stated who the guardian for my brother and I would be. >> Does your plan contain outdated information?
- They could be out of touch for weeks at a time. >> No matter what your role is, there are times when you are unavailable. Will having a written plan keep your business running when you are not there to approve every single decision?
- Having a succession plan also means having a backup plan. Preparing for who gets your stuff also means preparing for who can help regain access to your accounts when your wallet gets stolen overseas. >> What is your backup plan? Do you have a backup for your backup plan?
- My brother and I have not lived in the same state in years. Depending on which one of us is closer, we need to both be on the same page, and having a written document makes it easier to ensure their wishes are respected. >> How do you make sure your plan is followed when you are not available?
I know that you have plans and ideas for your business, and while most people do not expect to fail, the statistics show that many businesses will suffer unexpected events (sooner or later).
Our recommendation: Plan for the expected and the unexpected. Talk to your Trusted Advisors: your lawyer, your accountant, your insurance agent, your business coach/mentor, and your IT Professional. And MAKE A PLAN. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be customized and a good fit for you and your business.