It's Never Too Late.....Until it is!
Interesting times! That’s what we are all experiencing during this pandemic, along with the social unrest of the past few weeks. If there is ever a time to plan for the unexpected, now is the time.
These past few months have been challenging from a business, personal and financial level. Sales volumes have dropped and some businesses have shut down, social distancing has created anxiety and depression, and the loss of/or furloughing of employees has caused financial strain.
All of us have been touched in some form or fashion by what is going on in the world. Fears are increased and uncertainty is constant. Appreciation for life and the new norm, whatever that is, has people adjusting, changing and rethinking priorities and how they live their lives.
Just prior to the start of the pandemic, a family member was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia. She was 45 years old, and as of this writing, recently passed. She was healthy, enjoying life and being a successful wife, mother and employee, having just moved into an exciting new job opportunity. Over the short span of a couple of months, she went from the highs of moving toward a stem cell transplant and treatments going well, to a surprise infection, the cancer popping up in unexpected locations, placement into hospice and ultimately the loss of her life.
Obviously, this was not planned, nor what anyone would ever want or wish for. But, it happened. These surprises happen all the time. What are you doing to plan for the unexpected?
Most business owners we work with have not considered the “what if?” As we continue to meet with new and existing clients to talk about their business succession and exit, most are unprepared. Unfortunately, the “unexpected” happens more than 50% of the time and the planning, preparation, and risk mitigation have not taken place. Even if it’s not the unexpected, without the proper planning, many issues can arise for the owners, including:
The business is not worth what the owner is expecting and/or needing to support them in retirement or
The timing is not right for a sale. Either the business performance has been flat or declining.
There is not an obvious successor/successors in the business. Either management is not capable of buying, running, or both.
Worst case scenario is that something sudden happens to the business owner and there is no plan.
All of these result in the business owner being in a poor position to maximize their value on exit, and in many cases, not achieve their personal financial goals.
None of us like to think about what the future holds. Many times that reality hits home pretty hard, as has for me, in the untimely passing of a family member. I guarantee that she didn’t go into the doctor on February 1st anticipating that in less than 4.5 months she would no longer be here for her family. This is only one of many stories that we all have about the suddenness of what once was, is no more. Things change in an instant, and most of the time we are in reactive mode, not proactive.
What’s the most important thing that you can do for your family, for your business and your employees? Plan for your transition and your business succession. If you don’t own a business, what are you doing to plan for your retirement, for your financial well being and that of your family should something suddenly happen. If you’re a business owner, what are you doing to plan today for what may happen tomorrow. Time continues to fly by at a rapid rate, and that won’t change.
When you have adequately planned, the stress is removed, the ability to “be” versus just moving through the activities is much more likely. Because at the end of the day, what do you really want?
“They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Truth is, you knew what you had, you just thought you’d never lose it.”
– Thatonerule #268
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay