Create a plan to keep your business going if you get sick.
This article is Part 1 of a 20 part series of business tips from James, Davis, and Associates. These tips are designed to help you do better in business. Be sure to return each week to check out each new tip as it is published.
For some entrepreneurs, it is a sad reality that you are more likely to experience a serious illness or injury than to die in the course of running your business. It is for this reason that health and accident insurance are such big sellers. If you are an entrepreneur, it is important for you to make arrangements for your business to be able to continue to run in the event that you suffer a serious injury or personal tragedy that keeps you from going to work. Preparing for such events before they happen may be the difference between your business remaining active and viable in the event of a tragedy or illness and your business dying while you are ill or dealing with a tragedy.
Step 1 – Create a 12-month account.
Once upon a time, when it came to personal finance, people were advised to create a six-month account. This was a bank account that contained enough money for the person to continue to live and pay all expenses for six months. The idea was that if you lost your job, you would have sufficient money to maintain your standard of living while you searched for a new job. I suggest a 12-month account for your business. This means that if you experienced a serious illness or a personal tragedy like the death of a parent, significant other, or child, you would be able to keep the lights on at your business while you take time to recover, get treatment, or grieve.
If you already have an account like this for your business, congratulations, that is excellent. If you do not have such an account, start saving today. Sit down and think about how much money you spend on your business each month. Be sure to cover rent/mortgage, utility service, employee expenses, loans, office expenses, your salary, etc. Do not let the amount of money you need to save scare or deter you. If things are really tight and it is hard for your business to look beyond day to day survival. Start by simply saving one dollar per week or one percent of all income brought into the business. It doesn’t matter how small you start. What matters is that you do in fact start.
In science, there is an idea called inertia. In other words, a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by some outside force. This means that if you start saving now, it will be easy for you to continue saving. It also means that once you start saving, it will be easier for you to increase the amount you save. So that the one dollar a week you start saving this month, can be five dollars a week in three months. The one percent a sale you start saving this month can be three percent of sales that you save in six months. Don’t despise small beginnings, just start saving and start saving now.
Step 2 – Look at key person and other insurance coverage.
Insurance is sometimes called, in case stuff happens. In other words, insurance is something we pay so that if something happens later, we get paid. No one wants to purchase insurance. But even less do people want what they are buying insurance coverage to protect against. All that being said, you must look into insurance for your business. Key person insurance covers the cost of paying for the cost associated with getting a key person to take over running your business in the event that you are unable to do so. You are smart, you are talented, and you are needed to make your business run smoothly. If you are not able to do this, it is important that you find someone who will do it for you in your absence.
Good help is not cheap. If a serious illness or personal tragedy makes it impossible for you to handle your business yourself, you want to be able to hire the best help possible to do this for you. That is the reason you need to get key person insurance. While you are talking with your insurance agent about key person insurance, also look at insurance to cover the costs associated with running your business if you are unable to do so. Do not purchase the first policy you are shown, be sure to shop around, get the best price possible and the most coverage for the most potential emergency situations that your business can afford to maintain. Of course, you never want to use this insurance coverage, but should you ever have to, you will be glad that you got the appropriate insurance to protect your business.
Step Three – Recruit a team to cover for you in your absence.
In my work as an attorney, it was common for us to call upon each other to fill in at one hearing or trial if we had another hearing or trial scheduled for the same time. I had a team of two attorneys who I could call with very little notice who would fill in for me at court should I be unable to do so due to a conflict. Those attorneys likewise could call upon me if they had a conflict and needed assistance. We had an agreement to help each other out in the case of an emergency. Those attorneys trusted that I would not steal their clients, their payments, and would do a good job on their behalf. You need a team like this for your business.
Take time now, while things are going well and you do not need help to start recruiting a team to help you in the event of an illness or a personal tragedy. Find a team of people who will work to your standards, who care about you, and want you to succeed. It will take time to find people who are up to the task and whom you can safely trust. Take the time to find the team. When you do, make sure you find people who can work with your vision in mind, rather than a vision of their own. Look for people who will keep you updated as you desire and will honor your commitments to customers, employees, creditors, and others.
If you follow these three steps, your business will be better able to handle things and continue to operate should you become seriously ill or experience a personal tragedy and not be able to run things yourself. These three steps will put you well on the road to having a better business and doing business better.