A recent commentary was entitled “Who Is Your Successor?” Recently my firm engaged a top-notch consultant to help develop a future-focused succession and business development plan designed to carry the company into the future.
A business is an enterprise. It has “enterprise value” and “people value.” The energy in a business comes from its people—their dedication to service, passion for what they do, their creativity and flexibility. Businesses and people go through a series of transitions as they grow. How to accommodate change and thrive going forward is the focus of a tailored succession and business development plan.
Every business owner should have a continuity plan. The same concepts may be applied to a family. Generally, we think of a family as a mom, dad, and one or more children. For a single parent, planning is even more important without a spouse to step in.
Applied to a business, the first step is to think of a solidly-built pyramid and “protecting the foundation.” What is in place now and is it organized effectively?
For a family, we wish to protect the economic foundation—including sources of income. We look at the “what if?” questions surrounding the death or disability of a key breadwinner. Insurance matters consider not just death or disability, but health, liability and property and casualty coverage. Is coverage adequate?
Are wills, trusts, powers of attorney for assets and health care and advanced directives in place? Are beneficiary designations as they should be? Do the documents reflect your wishes, or are they composed of legalize that you do not understand? What happens to your money, investments, real estate, business interests, and prized possessions? More important, what happens to minor children given the loss of one or both parents?
If there has been a divorce, or loss of a spouse, have plans and protections been recast to accommodate a new reality?
A business going forward must face an uncertain future with multiple scenarios. “Scenario planning” is a key element in planning. A family faces similar quandaries, and multiple choices.
What transitions, positive and negative, might you and your loved ones face over the next ten years and ten years beyond that? What thought has been given to educations for children, cars, milestone celebrations, and weddings...all of the things that go into getting offspring out of the nest and the closing of the Bank of Mom and/or Dad?
How will you, your spouse, and children handle career development challenges, business opportunities or difficulties? What is your vision of retirement?
How will health concerns impact your future? How might the status of other family members, the failing health of parents or grandparents, a child or a spouse with health challenges, or caregiving responsibilities alter scenarios, including retirement?
How will you protect your income stream? How do you build future income streams? How much liquidity do you require? How much risk should you take? How much debt is wise? How do you develop an Investment Policy and Asset Allocation Plan that encompasses relevant considerations?
Our consultant opines that a business either is dying or it is growing. A family either is thriving or it is falling apart. A leader in a business, and in a family with a solid growth plan, has to show others how they fit into the plan and inspire them to move forward.
A comprehensive financial plan gives parents the confidence needed to lead the family, certain that the foundation is strong. Early in my business career, I resolved to have enough money at a minimum to allow my family to live a year or more if something happened to my job or income. It’s called a Family Freedom Fund.
Planning for “peace of mind” is the first step in your future-focused progress plan!
The Investment Coach 1994, Walker Capital Management Corp. Lewis Walker is President of Walker Capital Management LLC. and Walker Capital Advisory Services, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor (R.I.A.) Securities and certain advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker is a registered representative of SFA which is otherwise unaffiliated with the Walker Capital Companies. ▪ 3930 East Jones Bridge Road ▪ Suite 150 ▪ Norcross, GA 30092 ▪ 770-441-2603 ▪