I was reminded this week of the importance of having your business in a state where it can run without you. A client of mine found out when a business partner who was critical to the operation of the business had a health problem that meant that he could not go to work as he had for the last 12 years. This was hitting the business hard and it reminded me of my past experiences of this and of others I have come into contact with this last year on several occasions.
As a Business Owner, if you had to rang into your office to say you wouldn’t be in for 6 Months what would be left of your business on your return?
If you were to ring in to your business on Monday morning next week and say that you won’t be coming in today, oh and by the way, I won’t be in for the next 6 months either. What would your business look like when you got back?
Effectively this is what happened to me and this taught me one of my biggest lessons in business. I was flying and doing really well and then………. aged just 35, my doctor told me I had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a form of Cancer. I was married with two small children and had recently mortgaged up to the hilt.
When you get hit with something like this your priorities in life change drastically. My thoughts on the importance of business seem way down the list behind survival and the what if’s. Eventually I realised that I was not going to die, not just yet anyway, and gradually I got a grip of the realty of the situation.
During this first six months my business went from a £40K a year profit to loosing £80K in those six months. Luckily for me I had taken my financial advisers (Brian Jones) advice and taken out a critical illness policy alongside my life insurance. Effectively this saved me from bankruptcy and all the added trauma that that would have caused on top of my illness.
I tell you this not to impress you, but seriously to, impress upon you, the lesson here. You never know what’s just around the corner. That Juggernaut can come around and hit you just when you least expect it.
So Look at your business and think about what it would look like if you had to take 6 months off. Would it survive without you? What would you need to do to make sure it could, because there will be the lifestyle of your team as well as you, depending on the continuation of your business. Is It your obligation to you team to ensure that it can survive without you.
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