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Working Backward: Personal Questions to Guide Your Business Planning

June 05, 2024

Remember trying to solve a maze as a kid? You’d start at the beginning, winding through twists and turns, only to hit dead ends. Then someone might suggest, “Start at the end and work backward.” That often did the trick. 

This same idea can apply to planning your business’s future. “The end” here is a solid plan that reflects your personal goals—what you want to happen with your business, who will take over, and how your family will be impacted if something happens to you. It might feel uncomfortable to plan for these scenarios, but it gives you control over your legacy. 

To effectively work backward, start by setting clear goals and figuring out any financial gaps between what you have now and what you’ll need. As you map out your plan, here are three important questions to guide you. 

1. Can My Business Survive Without Me?

For many of us, our business is more than a job—it funds our lifestyle and supports our family. Its success is crucial for maintaining our way of life. But what if your business relies heavily on you? If you can’t take a long vacation, deal with an illness, or face an unexpected event without your business struggling, that’s a problem. 

Ask yourself: “Can my business thrive without me?” If you haven’t been able to step away for an extended period without issues cropping up, chances are you’re indispensable. This dependency could put your employees and family at risk if you’re suddenly not around. 

2. Do I Have Someone Ready to Take Over?

Successful businesses usually have key employees who can keep things running in your absence. However, expecting them to instantly take over ownership responsibilities might be unrealistic. Some might excel in their roles but not be interested in or prepared for ownership. 

Ask yourself: “Do I have someone who can take over the business right now if needed?” This means either having an internal successor prepared or planning to bring in someone from outside. Without a clear successor, your business, family, and employees could be in trouble if something happens to you. 

 3. Can My Family Maintain Their Lifestyle if I’m Gone?

Your business likely supports your family, employees, and perhaps even charities you care about. If you suddenly couldn’t run your business, these people might lose their financial support. 

Ask yourself: “Will my loved ones continue to thrive without me?” While you can’t replace your presence, you can help ensure they’re financially protected proper planning. 

It's always about the #STRATEGIES.

You've worked a lifetime to create your assets. Knowing what strategies are available and when to implement is imperative to your financial future.

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