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And What Happens to Your Small Business If You Get Hit by a Bus?

What would happen to your small business if you were suddenly removed from it...for whatever reason?  How much thought have you ever given to that potential happenstance? What if one day, you, the chief entrepreneur, business architect and visionary, became incapacitated...or just ceased to be?

Sorry to be a purveyor of gloom and doom, but this is often the last thing any entrepreneur thinks about. But the implications of losing its leader, not just for the small business, its shareholders, employees and its future, but the personal, family and professional ramifications could be earth-shattering.

Now I'm not talking about having key-man insurance (but even in that case, let's see those Benjamin Franklins step in and take over for you on day 1 after you're not there), or some kind of succession plan, but having a true fallback plan in case of something happens to you, where you can no longer drive the company. Everything you worked for up to that point could be in jeopardy! It's even more disastrous than dying without a will.  At least Probate Court will sort that out for you.  Nobody sorts out what happens to a leaderless small business.

And the longer you've been in business, the more difficult it becomes not just for the business itself, but its shareholders/partners, employees, customers and suppliers.

Since 9/11 many businesses have put together some form of disaster recovery plan to ensure that in time of a major external event that impacts the business, it has a plan to continue. Think of your fallback plan as a disaster recovery plan for the worst kind of disaster a small business can encounter...the loss of its entrepreneurial leader.  Unthinkable?  If 9/11 taught us anything, it taught us that the unthinkable can happen!

Answer some key questions. Who will take over? Why? How? When? Does anybody know all that you know?  If not, why not? Discuss the potential situation with key shareholders or board members, if you have them; your accountant; your lawyer; key employees, family members. Document it, however rudimentary, and give it to several folks you trust, for safekeeping and work with your attorney on the steps necessary to execute it, should that be necessary.

Don't waste another minute.  Put it together, now, today.  Your shareholders/partners, employees and your family will thank you.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things. He's been there. May success be with you!

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Categories: Small Business Exit
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