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02:40 PM PDT on Wednesday, April 6, 2011
There are many articles that talk about “succession planning.” Many of these articles are informative and offer valuable advice on how to develop a succession plan for your business. However, many owners of small to mid-sized companies still view themselves as invincible and shielded from adverse situations that would pull them out of their businesses for an extended period of time. I feel this way because of the hundreds of business owners I have coached who had no succession plan and were reluctant to address the topic head on.
I can remember the days when I also felt this way. That is until I was diagnosed with cancer last June. Six months of aggressive chemotherapy has kept me out of my business for more than five months, and the pending lung surgery and future chemotherapy will keep me away from work for another six months to a year. Yet, my businesses continue to operate and grow without me. Could you say the same, if you were put in the same situation?
I ask this question with a serious tone and challenge you to answer the question seriously, because the future of your business, and in many cases, the future of your family, is dependent on your answer.
If you are like the hundreds of small business owners I have coached, I can predict your answer to be, “No, my business cannot run without me!” Well, then you have a choice. You can continue to believe that you are invincible or you can get your head out of the sand and begin to do what is needed to ensure the survival of your business in the unlikely and unfortunate event that you are “out of action.”
What is needed you ask? The answer to that question is easier than you think. You basically need two things: systems and people.
Systems: Having a documented and clear understanding of your company’s work flow process and a repository of all systems that make up the steps in the process. These systems collectively would make up your operations manual and employee training manuals.
People: This speaks to having the right people in the right positions that are capable to develop, manage and/or deploy the systems.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well, it’s quite the opposite.
The whole idea of becoming a systems-based company can be overwhelming and all consuming. The skills to identify the best people for key positions can be equally challenging. And both tasks will require a lot of work to complete.
But think of the alternative, no systems in place, and the wrong people in charge and you not around for six months. This increases the possibility of your business failing.
So I ask you one more time, “Can your business survive without you?” If the answer is still no, then you need to seek the advice of a professional to help draw up a
Ruben Estrada is president and CEO of Estrada Strategies, a CEO Coaching Franchise for small and medium-sized businesses. He can be reached via 909-476-3510 or Ruben@EstradaStrategies.com.