Business owners are used to having control. But some things are uncontrollable, and without a plan, those uncontrollable things can create negative consequences that reverberate.
Consider the story of a fictional but representative business owner who learned why planning before he thought he was ready was so important.
A Stroke of Luck
Jerry Glasner’s employees fidgeted uncomfortably. His words about the company’s award-winning performance, which he had been delivering with his trademark booming confidence, began to slip from his mouth like an undercooked egg. Jerry saw the befuddled looks and looked out, confused. The last thing he remembered was his wife cradling his head and his daughter pleading for a doctor as he lay on the floor of the banquet hall that his company had rented for such a joyous announcement of his company’s success.
He awoke in the hospital. He had suffered a stroke. His prognosis was good, but his doctors said he would require speech therapy.
Jerry’s health scare made him realize how many people both relied on and cared about him. Though he would have never wished for such a terrifying experience to learn a lesson again, he did consider himself lucky. He was not only alive but also motivated to protect the family and employees he’d supported for the last 30 years.
With help from his Advisor Team, he created a set of contingency plans.
These plans gave his family financial guidance and access to the wealth he had built outside his business if he were to die suddenly.
They set a line of successors that would allow his business to continue to operate in his absence while providing for his family and employees.
And they set aside a portion of company profits to install wellness programs for his company’s employees to help prevent similar scares in the future.
Starting Before You’re Ready
To pursue these plans, Jerry needed to adjust how his business operated. He discovered that while he loved being the engine that drove the business, he wasn’t comfortable with the idea that an unexpected health problem could easily cause the wheels to fall off of everything he had built.
Many business owners find themselves in a similar situation as Jerry. You do so much and work so hard. But when all success radiates from one source, it can mean that removing that source removes any chance of success.
Fortunately, there are ways to plan for the unexpected. Between business continuity planning, estate planning, and planning for a successful future, business owners have options.
However, the best time to begin such planning is before you think you’re ready.
For example, while it was good that Jerry took steps to plan following his stroke, he missed out on a chance to take fuller advantage of life insurance policies due to his now-evident health issues.
The good news is that as long as you’re running your business, it’s never too late to plan for a successful future.