Your business can (& should!) take care of your family in an emergency

I had a scare the other day that made me evaluate well, basically my entire life. I never really wanted to spend time thinking about a world that I might not be in. It’s so much easier to live under the thought that we are just going to be here “forever”. However, there are times when something jumps out, smacks you upside the head, and forces you to ponder the what-if.

This time for me was at my recent mammogram appointment. As I was sitting in the waiting area after the exam it seemed to be taking an exceptionally long time for the doctor to come get me and let me know everything was fine until next year. As people came and left there I still sat. After what felt like an eternity a nurse came in and said they needed to run another test. So I of course comply and after the second test I am seated again in the waiting area.

As I was fighting off the dark corners of my mind (which already had me dead and buried) I raced through the planning and preparations I had done to make sure if I weren’t here my family would be taken care of. I was relieved to recall I had the protection in place for my family I should.

  •  My will was current and spelled out my wishes
  •  My life insurance was the right amount and would replace my income to my family indefinitely
  •  My disability insurance covers my income so if I were unable to work it wouldn’t be financially catastrophic

The relief was short lived though as I also thought about my business. So often the planning and preparation we put in place is solely focused on our family. This is a crucial part of your plan, however should not be the only focus. For those of us that also own a business it’s critical to make sure we have prepared our business for a time when we may be unable to work.

If you haven’t already, take some time now to think about what would happen to your business if you weren’t there for either a period of time or permanently.

• What would happen if you were unable to work for an extended period of time?
• If you have employees, how would the salaries and other expenses of the business continue to be paid?
• What would happen to your business if you passed away prematurely?
o Who would take it over?
o Would it be dismantled and sold or just slowly fade away?

As I was waiting for the doctor to come talk to me after the second round of exams I ran through the list of preparations I had made for my business. It had admittedly been awhile since I evaluated the protection component of my business’s plan so I had a few questions.

  • Was my Buy-Sell agreement current and properly funded?
  • Was my disability overhead expense insurance the right amount to cover expenses now?Did the company own enough life insurance on me to pay off debts?

In thinking about the details of the plan for my business I started to panic as I realized what I had just wasn’t enough. My business has grown quite a bit since I had put these pieces in place and I had not increased the protection as the business expanded. I was saddened to realize how much additional and unnecessary stress and financial hardship I would place on my family and employees if I weren’t here or able to work.

In my business I often have the opportunity to talk with entrepreneurs. What I’ve found as a result of these conversations are business owners often struggle with finishing (or even starting for that matter) their business’s plan because:

• They think it has no value
• They are too busy
• They don’t know where to start
• Life gets in the way

Don’t let an experience like I went through (when it’s possibly too late) be the motivation you need to protect your business. Thankfully everything turned out ok and as I left the doctor’s office I immediately blocked out time in my calendar to review and address the deficiencies my business’s plan. I made sure I have the right protection in place so if it ever does happen, that I’m unable to work, I haven’t created additional stress for everyone else because the business wasn’t properly prepared.

I will leave you with these final words. Take time NOW to make sure there is a plan in place for your business. Make sure you have a Buy/Sell agreement and that it is FUNDED (meaning a way to financially support the terms of the Buy/Sell). Make sure the bills of the business can be paid if you are unable to work for a period of time. Ensuring your business is well protected in the event you are no longer able to work due to death or disability is a foundational component to your business’s plan and should not be overlooked.

Take the time now to plan because we never know what the future holds. Are you prepared?

Here’s to you.  All my love,

Melanie


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