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Making plans and provisions for something you hope just won’t happen . . .

Making plans and provisions for something you hope just won’t happen . . .

Famous writers will tell you they look everywhere for inspiration before they put pen to paper.

I am not suggesting for one second that I am in the same league and have to travel widely to come up with topics for these infamous pages — quite the opposite actually.

I sit, think about what has happened over the past couple of weeks, pick a thought and scribble.

So I started scribbling recently regarding a conversation I had about putting money away, being conservative, planning for tomorrow and all that riveting stuff that will keep you up at night.

I will say right now, and on record, that when it comes to this particular subject, I adhere to the mantles of “do what I say and not what I do”, “live for today and not tomorrow” and that other old saying — “you could be dead tomorrow”.

My scribbling came to an abrupt halt the following day when I learnt that a Whangarei-based business colleague went to work with her daughter and, tragically, never came home.

I had to start scribbling again as deadlines were looming and, looking at the topic I started and thinking about what had just happened, I found it very fitting.

From a purely business viewpoint, if a strategic member of the team could never come to work again, would your business survive?

It’s a conversation every single business should have, but very very few ever do and, luckily, most never have to.

There is no one answer fits all here simply because all businesses are different in size, age, number of owners, financial stability, age of owners — and the list goes on.

So the answer has to be custom modelled to fit your situation. Having said that, there are similarities that we should all consider, including cash in the bank while you go through the transition period, insurance cover for loss of earnings or key man replacement, and having systems in place so others can pick up the pieces.

If it was a husband, wife, partner, son or daughter then there is the monumental question or questions — could you carry on, would you want to carry on, and how long would it be before you could even mentally start thinking about work again?

When we coach clients on succession planning, survival planning and planning for all the scenarios above, we go into great detail and try to cover all the angles.

But there is an angle that all the planning, all the business experience and all the scenarios cannot take into account.

There is nothing in any text book, nothing anybody can tell you — in fact, there’s nothing on this planet that can prepare you — about losing somebody and then having the extra pressure of running a business, unless you have actually been there.

Even if there was, it would not be totally accurate, as we all handle trauma differently. 

A prudent business owner makes plans, but most business owners just hope it never happens.

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