By Maurie Cashman
A client asked me what blindspots he had about his business. The first one I gave him I give to most owners â€“ It is not all about you!
â€œWe cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.â€
Many business owners view the risks inherent in their businesses from a fairly narrow viewpoint. They started or purchased the business many years ago and have worked hard to build it to what it is today. They may have good staffs, strong products or services and great customer relationships. They may have life insurance policies to pay off debt if they die and long-term disabilities to pick up the slack if they are disabled.
When looking for a blindspot in a business I like to ask questions to see what kind of answers I will get. The one question that I often ask that gets attention is: What would you do if something happened to your wife/husband. Usually deer in the headlights.
The most serious risk to a business owner is usually not what may happen to him, it is what happens if something happens to a loved one.
Charles heads a manufacturing business with 350 employees. The business is growing very rapidly and has a very strong operating team, but they still have a way to go before they could manage on their own over an extended period. One day Charles got the news that his wife had cancer and it was bad. Charles had no choice but to try to juggle both the business and the more important need that his wife had for him.
Jack had a successful accounting firm. He had purchased it and built it up over the years. He had a solid staff but again they were young. He had the former owner still involved but he had many other things outside the business on his plate. Jack found out that his daughter had Stage IV cancer and had a very poor prognosis. Jack spent weeks with his daughter in hospitals and at home trying to support her.
Mary owns a small service business. The business is not capable of running without her as it is coming out of start-up phase and just beginning to really ramp up. She got a call from her husband one day that she needed to come to the hospital right away. Their daughter was having severe emotional problems coupled with a drug problem they were just learning about. Mary dropped everything and went to her daughterâ€™s side, computer in tow.
These are not hypothetical situations. I have seen each of these and many more. It can happen to me â€“ it can happen to you. I am far more concerned with what I will do in one of these situations than I am if something happens to me.
What about you? Do you have a plan in place so that you can go to your familyâ€™s side in their time of greatest need? Or is this a huge blindspot?
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