Your Business Continuity


           In an ideal world, your business will continue to flourish long after you have exited.  In reality, not everything works out accordingly. Having a solid plan for your business’s continuity after you are gone is very important. Multiple circumstances can arise that, without a sufficient plan, can leave your employees flailing.

            Exit planning from both the owner and those next in line are of the utmost importance because the lack of experience and understanding of how to handle the business should the owner suddenly die or become disabled can be detrimental to the owner’s family, and can possibly bankrupt the business. A buy-sell agreement is essential to the continuity of a business, but it is only one part of exit planning.

            Common mistakes often include, but are not limited to: failing to deal with a financial continuity plan when a co-owner dies, failing to deal with the management or leadership of the business when the “leader” of the business dies, and failing to deal with financial, leadership, or business continuity when the sole owner of the business dies. Morbid as it may sound, we never know when an emergency will be thrown our way. Ideally, a business owner, especially a sole business owner, will have a prewritten continuity plan long before anything should happen. But life is uncertain, and being prepared for the unknown in the business world could make or break what is left of all of your hard work.

            It is an excellent idea to be well prepared if such an occasion should arrive. Planning is meant to be something done before an exit, either an intentional or unintentional exit. Start planning now to avoid having you or your family watch your business suffer.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Leaders for Success


There is no doubt that applied knowledge and targeted experience is one of the keys to success. When employees gain the knowledge and experience they need for higher level roles before they get into the position, they are better positioned to lead into the future. Giving employees early leadership experiences and opportunities ensures the sustainability and future success of your business.

How can you prepare your leaders for more responsibility?

1.      Let them learn on the job. This means allowing them to make mistakes, recover and learn from them. It means expecting them to address issues directly and come up with creative, effective solutions. This helps them learn to think like an executive.

2.      Give them “fix-it” or “turnaround” jobs. A stretch assignment will force them to problem solve, communicate across organizational boundaries, overcome obstacles and build effective relationships. They will learn to become more persuasive, tough, and influential.

3.      Have them build something from scratch – start up a new project, build a new team. This will teach them resourcefulness, initiative, and tap into their creativity. If it’s a part of their current role, they will have to learn how to prioritize what is most important.

4.      Encourage ‘a day in the life’ where you have your leaders switch positions with a colleague in a very different role. Encourage them to go deeper in the organization to see firsthand the challenges your team faces with ineffective systems, poor handoffs, difficult people, dysfunctional communications, etc.. This exercise will expose them to your business in a very different way.

5.      Expose them to the financials so they understand how you make money, what are your most profitable products, who are your most profitable customers, where do you have losses. Help them understand the impact of decisions on the bottom line.

Giving employees and potential successors these kinds of experiences long before they need to step into an ownership or management position is an invaluable way to groom a successor. Giving up control can be difficult, but their transition to effective leadership will be much smoother with these kinds of experiences

Creating New Rituals and Habits in Retirement


Happy New Year! Many of us make resolutions for healthy habits this time of year, but really any time you make a life change – such as getting a new job, having a baby or retiring – is the perfect opportunity to reassess not just your daily routine, but also your regular habits and rituals.

What changes do you want to make in your life? What has worked well for you and what might you like to be different? Now is the time to decide: Do you want to sleep in until 7am? Do you want to cook healthy meals? Work out before lunch instead of 5:15am? Do you want to buy tickets to the theater for a Wednesday night because you don’t have to worry about the alarm clock waking you on Thursday morning? Do you want to take a class at the community college that meets from 2pm to 4pm on Mondays?  Or do you want to create a habit for reading, journaling, walking, biking, coffee with friends?

Decide what habits and rituals you want and then set up a place to do it. Ensure your tools of the trade are handy and then build the time into your schedule using a trigger that indicates when it’s time to do it. For instance, if you want to read your Bible every day, create a place to read, put your bible and any other tools in that space (reading glasses, a pointer, a coaster for your cup of coffee), and then build the trigger into your schedule. If you want to read right after you make your morning cup of joe, that’s your trigger. This year, as my schedule changed, I set a resolution to write in my journal every day. I created a space at a table in my home office, placed my journal, reading glasses and pen on the table, and my trigger alerts me to journal right before I head downstairs for breakfast. If you want to eat healthy meals, where will you find or create those meals? What tools do you need to do it well? What will trigger you to create or find those meals instead of the traditional fast food you’ve been relying upon?

You don’t need a life change to create healthy good habits. Pick something small and get started today.

Good luck!