There seems to be a false notion floating around – and we all buy into – that somehow we’re going to get everything in order tomorrow. Tomorrow, when we wake up, it will be the perfect day, where we will have ample time for the planning and legal work needed to minimize risk in the future. We talk a good game, but that’s not what happens. Life is messy and full of distractions.
Today will not go as planned. So what was planned for tomorrow remains undone for yet another day. I’m not referring to mundane tasks. I’m referring to the heavy lifts in business around succession, governance, and transition that most owners just do not want to tackle. There is always tomorrow they say until there’s not.
As a family business owner, it’s critical to understand there are events that will affect the transition of your business. In fact, one out of every two reading this blog will be impacted by an event beyond your control. And if you haven’t run through the checklist to prepare your business, you’re not only putting the business at risk but your family as well.
Think all this is a bit dramatic? Below are REAL situations I’ve witnessed over the years:
Yes, we talk a lot about the 5Ds – Death, Disability, Divorce, Distress, and Disagreement – with good reason. 100% of business owners will exit their business yet only 50% will do it on their terms. The other half is scrambling.
And by the way, a 5D event doesn’t have to happen directly to you to disrupt the business. Think about the fallout if it involved a:
Begin by adopting the mindset of, “my business is always for sale” (and actually, that’s the way it should be).
Working with the mindset that your business is always ready to be sold, means:
All these things will not only make your business successful today but attractive to potential buyers in the future, including internal successors. Ultimately, building a business that’s transferable means that it can run without you and that’s also the best way to survive one of these 5Ds.
Do the right things – the hard things – to position your business for whatever life throws your way. It will be more financially successful, more fun to operate, and better protect those you love.
Life is messy. But the future of the business doesn’t need to be. Make the commitment to tackle just one “what if” today, and check it off your list so it’s done.
Not sure where to start? Contact me and we will walk through the checklist.
BLOG | FAMILY DYNAMICS / GOVERNANCE
In 1978 the 2-circle illustration of family business evolved when Harvard business professor Renato Tagiuri and then-graduate student John Davis added a third circle – Ownership – to better account for the distinct groups that existed in a family business. With the addition of Ownership, the 3-circle model more accurately captured the seven facets of ownership.Read More
BLOG | LEADERSHIP
When I first started Compass Point 20 years ago, leadership was an ancillary topic. My work focused on the systems, financials, hiring the right people, and being a confidant to the owner. At the time I didn’t see it as leadership coaching, but rather as building a relationship with a client who trusted me enough to let me see the inner workings of their mind and business. I helped the person as I helped the business. Times – and leadership – have changed.Read More
BLOG | OWNER FINANCIAL GAP
Family business owners are passionate about what they do. They’re working to carry on a business that family built – by their parents, grandparents, sometimes even great-grandparents and beyond. These owners are so busy providing for their employees, communities, and the next generation that they often ignore their own financial future. Boiling it down to its true essence, business is a means to building wealth. And what are we supposed to do with that wealth?Read More
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