Strategies for Planning Your Legacy

Many business owners think about what will be their legacy and what will they leave behind. Less than 1/3 of family businesses survive into 2nd generation and only 13% into 3rd according to Family Business Succession – The Final Test of Greatness by Craig Aronoff, Stephen McClure and John Ward:

Most leaders who start a business have a passion for the business. They are on a mission to make a difference. As each succeeding generation grows into leadership positions, that initial mission can get lost or lose importance. The strategies may need to change as generations evolve and our world becomes more complex, but the core values that you founded your business on still matter.

Here are some strategies to ensure your legacy:

  1. Document the principles and values you founded the business on. Have you learned any important lessons that would be helpful? Any leadership or business tips, advice? Write it down and share it for your next generations to use as a guide.

  2. Educate your next generation and beyond about investing, budgeting, and getting credit. Train them on how to finance a business, manage cash flow, and make good business decisions. Show them how and more importantly, why! You have been handling money for decades and it may seem like common sense but it is not. If your successors do not know how to properly manage money you can kiss your legacy goodbye!

You have put a lot of time and effort into your business for decades and you deserve to keep your legacy alive. Take out your pen and paper and get to work!

How Your Core Values Relate to Thanksgiving

Fall Cornucopia -- Rosslyn (VA) November 2012

As we move into the holiday season, it’s a good time to reflect upon what values drive you -- as an individual, and as a businessperson. Common ones I hear often from clients include faith, family, integrity and freedom.

Our values are reflected in our company through its culture. Every business has its own unique culture. You can build your culture intentionally by declaring and living and behaving against a set of core values or you can find it built for you, with a set of behaviors that your employees interpret as defining your values.

If your culture doesn’t reflect your core values, it’s time to change it so that it better represents what’s important to you. If it does, congratulations! Now, how can you institutionalize those so that they exist beyond your time with the company? Those core values need to be reflected in your succession plan and in the leaders to whom you entrust your business and your legacy.

I recently had a conversation with a former owner who had sold his business but was still employed there in a leadership role. He was so frustrated. “They eliminated the culture,” he told me. “I worked so hard to build a culture into this organization, and now there’s none. Gone”

I replied, “Oh, believe me – there IS a culture in the business…It’s just not the one you invested 30 years building.”

So in this season of Thanksgiving, a time for giving thanks, take some time to acknowledge and recognize the employees, customers and vendors who have demonstrated the values you hold dear, who have helped you build your business, and who have built a business culture that reflects what matters most to you.

Thank You! for being a meaningful part of my life this year, and for inviting me to be a meaningful part of yours. May 2017 bring you and yours much joy, good health and continued prosperity.

Retirement Resistance

Why haven’t you started developing a plan to sell your business?

When you are within 3-5 years of your ideal retirement age, the time to start planning is…well…yesterday.

If you are not ready to visualize what your retirement will look like in your mind’s eye, you won’t ever be ready to start planning your retirement in real life.

Having resistance to the succession planning process is natural, and starting is easier than you think.

Step one:  Figure out what is holding you back.

Experience has shown me that the most common roadblock is the not so simple matter of mental readiness.

Yourbusinessgives you asense of purpose and direction in your life.

It is impossible to imagine walking away from that…

unless you have something meaningful to walk towards.

Retirement is not the end of the road…it is a transition to your next great adventure.

Uncharted territory is not as intimidating when you have a guide to walk with you.

Are you ready to have a confidential conversation about navigating your purposeful steps forward?