Steve Jobs’s Legacy
Even though Apple is in transition in terms of leadership and this loss, it is obvious that there was a plan for changing and training the team members in their new roles. But when I think of small businesses, I know that we often fail to plan for the next generation.
If you intend for your business to survive long after you are gone, then you need to address a few core things today. In the small business community we don’t run large corporations; we run small companies. When the owner dies she often leaves behind a family that, in addition to managing their grief, must also figure out what to do with the business, its debts, and everything else that goes with death.
Tragedies happen, but preparation can make it easier. A smart business owner needs:
- A team and an opportunity for them to train for their future role.
- A system that documents your way of doing things and the reason why you do it that way. Things will change, and when your team members know your reasons why, it will empower them to make those changes.
- A legal advisor to help you create a will and trust to document (and protect) your plans and intentions for the business.
- A financial buffer so that if there is a lull in business the company can absorb it while the family and friends regroup.
These are just a few core things to get you started. You may also want to consult an estate planner who works with small business owners to plan in greater detail.
Preparation is a part of the strategy and it takes work but it leaves behind relief. We cannot stop death, nor the pain that follows it, but we can help our business be structured so that the transition is as easily as possible.