It’ll Never Happen to Me – Business Succession Planning
The Hit by a Bus Scenario
Anyone that owns a business has heard about the hit by a bus scenario at some point in time. The problem is we all deny it will ever happen to us. But, is that a realistic way to look at it?
Business succession planning is how you address the risk. But, most small business owners think business succession planning is something you do before you retire. The problem in the hit by a bus scenario is you don’t know when you’re going to be retired!
Enter a typical business owner. We’ll call him Joe. Joe is in his mid- fifties, in good health overall. He exercises daily and eats healthy. He’s never smoked and only drinks socially occasionally. He’s had his own professional services business for more than 25 years and used it to raise a family, buy his home and cars. Overall he’s had a good life.
Joe has never thought too much about finding a successor or GM to run his business. He loves what he does and will probably do it until he dies. But, when will that be? Here is the catch. None of us know when that’s going to be it could be tomorrow, and if it is what kind of mess do you leave for your family, employees, customers, and vendors if it is tomorrow? It is why business succession planning is so important from the day you start a business.
Most business owners say, “well that’s why I have insurance.” But, insurance will not run your business, fill your orders or complete the obligations of your contracts. This is why I have waved the banner for business self-sustainability for most of my consulting career!
Business self-sustainability mitigates most of these risks. And, if the hit by a bus scenario never happens to you then you can look to reap higher profits, with less work for many years to come. And, sell your business for 2 to 3 time or more than its current value. But why would you, if it’s self-sustaining you never need to show up and it pays you every day to live the lifestyle that you want!
Here’s Why Business Succession Planning is Critical
So, let’s go back and look at Joe’s life. It’s a Wednesday morning very early. Joe has a client meeting at 7:30, a contract signing with a new client at 10:30, and a meeting with a new strategic alliance partner at 2:00 pm. Joe gets up and stumbles to the bathroom and then back to bed. More than a little restless Joe stumble out to the living room to watch some TV and falls asleep on the couch.
His wife wakes him at 6:30 and he stumbles down the hallway to get ready for his day. Worried by his lack of coordination she expresses her concern. Being brought to his attention, Joe too is a little concerned. He tells his wife he’ll cancel his first appointment and go see the doctor. While attempting to text his client, Joe is having more than a little trouble controlling his left hand a thumb on the phone. Concerned, joe decals to his wife to take him to the ER. Several hours later they are wheeling Joe upstairs from the ER to begin his long recovery from his stroke.
Joe was one of those business owners. He had talked about the hit by a bus scenario with his advisors. He started planning for it, but it was never a priority. So, most of the things necessary were only partially completed. Does this sound like a familiar story to you? Me too, because Joe is me. This is what happened to me on September 28, 2016.
I thank God every day that the stroke didn’t affect my speech or general cognition and executive function of my brain. But, it could have easily been much worse. I lost most of the use of my left side for the time being. Had I been a tradesman this would have been a devastating bump in the road.
So, what do you do? You begin from day one in your business in growing it so it will be self-sustaining. To do it I created the SPARC Business Growth Framework as a step by step process to create business self-sustainability in any business in 3-5 years or less.
I already had begun execution of my plan for business self-sustainability in DE, Inc. Before my stroke. Writing my book Business Growth Simplified and rebranding everything under the Business Growth Simplified brand was a good first step. But, now the reality has hit me like brick and I have doubled my commitment to getting it done as fast as possible and helping as many business owner as I can in the process to avoid the stress and scare that this create for all those that count on you and what you do every day.
So, I implore you to stop the denial. The hit by a bus scenario is real. It CAN happen to you, just like it did me. By taking the steps necessary to make your business self-sustaining you assure your family, employees, customers and vendor don’t end up with a mess on their hands. And, if it ever happens you get to live the life of independence and financial freedom that you dreamed of when you started the business. You owe it to yourself and family, so get started today.