When you start a business and build it into a thriving enterprise, it can feel like you and the business become entwined. You are inherently linked; you are the business, and the business is you.
In many cases, this will be absolutely true: many businesses rely on the energy and intellect of their owner alone. However, there is a point at which the link between you and your business becomes less clear cut. If you hire employees who rely on you as the way they earn their living, then your business begins to be vitally important to multiple people, rather than existing primarily because of its dynamic owner.
Contemplating this fact is something that many business owners find difficult. If you build a business from the ground up, then the idea that your business may one day be able to continue without you is incredibly difficult to conceive of.
Contemplating business continuity
If you have a small, one-person lifestyle business, then there is no need to be concerned with how your business will survive without you. In these cases, the business owner genuinely is the entire business.
However, if your business has grown beyond a basic one-person lifestyle business, then contemplating how your business will manage without you is an important step. This is a type of planning known as business continuity, and it’s an area that requires specific thought and dedication. Knowing who will take over from you, and how the business will run, is an essential detail to nail down.
The two main reasons for business continuity planning
Setting aside a sale of the business – which requires very specific planning in and of itself – there are two main reasons you will need to contemplate business continuity: retirement and, unfortunately, death.
In both of these circumstances, you will leave your business behind, and your business will need to function without you at the helm. This can be difficult to contemplate, but it is an inevitability; even if both events seem incredibly unlikely, it is still the responsibility of a business owner to have an an idea of what will happen in each eventuality.
Retirement is usually the easier idea to contemplate, so this should be your first consideration. There are plenty of ways you can prepare your business for retirement, and this is well worth doing even if you – like many entrepreneurs – don’t actually want, or intend, to retire. There is always the possibility that medical issues, for example, may mean you have to contemplate retirement unexpectedly.
Death, however, is a far thornier issue, and one that many business owners don’t like to contemplate. However, there is a certain peace of mind to be found in considering this eventuality; when you have planned for the future and implemented steps regarding trust filings, the issue is dealt with, and you can resume normal operations without a further thought.
Examining business continuity in the event of your retirement or death is never a pleasant subject, but it is a necessity. By formulating ideas and putting plans in place, you can tick the requisite box in your mind, and be confident of a safe and secure future for your company.