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How do I plan for the future of my business?

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Planning for the future of a business is really important. It’s something that tends to get lost in the every day management of a business because there’s always too much work to do. There’s too many things to think about. The thinking about what’s going to happen in five years and ten years just gets lost. But it’s really critical.

If you want to be able to retire from your business, you have to either have a succession plan. You have to be able to sell it. If you want to pass it on to your family, you need to have an estate plan that takes care of future planning for your business.

A lot of business are really dependent on their owners, particularly in a small corporation. You need to provide for planning, for any time that you are disabled or you die suddenly, that the business can still continue. You’re employees get paid. Your customers get served. You need to have some kind of planning in place to take care of contingencies. The best way to do that is really several.

One is to actually bite the bullet and sit down and think about the future of your business at least once a year for a couple of hours. Pick New Year’s weekend. Pick July 4th. Pick some day and spend a couple of hours and say what would happen if, and then look at your documentation. Do you have an estate plan in place. Do you have a trust in place. Do you have trusted advisers. Do you have trusted management people who can help you out.

The best defense is really proper planning. So you can even make an arrangement with a friendly competitor of yours that in the event something happens to you, they would buy the business so they would, you would have some kind of cross management back up scenarios. You can create a trust, to make sure that your business has someone you can step in on short notice.

On a business level for selling, it’s really important to think about bottlenecks in your operation. Are you too dependent on one or two customers. Can someone else step in and actually do the work or is it too dependent on you personally. And then once you look at your present situation you are able to come up with a plan that let’s you have a secure future for you and your family.

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