Business continuity …do you have a plan?

elephant in room - 2

Business continuity …do you have a plan?

What would happen if you did not turn up to work today?

This is a very important question for business owners.

Would your business continue to operate?

Can it continue to grow and can you sell it?

In a recent bog, I wrote about my friend Tim Boyle, Australia’s first kidney lower intestine transplant recipient and his positive attitude in the face of a seemingly impossible situation. This helped him get through a complex and lengthy surgical operation and be out of hospital in five weeks. At the time of writing this blog Tim is recovering well.

As a finance broker, he was passionate about providing people with opportunities to own their own home. Over the long years while he was waiting for a suitable donor, Tim continued to build his business and put in place contingencies for the business to operate without him. Whilst recovering in hospital he talked to staff at all levels explaining how important it is own your own home. I witnessed nurses coming up to him and thanking him for giving them hope. His business continued to operate.

However the real message was that his business continued to operate whilst ‘not being there’. His staff of two continued to work without him being there.


Because there was a business continuity plan – it could operate without Tim, the owner being present.

This is one of the biggest issues for small to medium sized (SMEs) owners – the elephant in the room. Would your business survive without you coming into work?

If your business cannot operate without you, then your business is vulnerable. This goes to the next step. Should you wish to sell your business in the future, and the business is dependent on you on a daily basis then the value to a potential buyer is significantly lower.

The following link summarises how it is important to be a ‘leader’ rather than a ‘doer’, otherwise your business cannot operate (or grow) without you.

Putting it bluntly, the first step is to put your ego aside and plan to have your business operate without you……………you can go on holidays, be absent, protect your wealth, family relationships and your health.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain………….

Life Cycle

Life Cycle

“All product categories have a specific life span called the product life cycle. Brands or products typically go through five stages of growth: development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline”

Yes, we all know about a product life cycles, just look at what car manufacturers do by redesigning car styles. Business leaders and business owners have a life cycle too! The issue is to know where you are in your career or business life cycle and to then plan and act accordingly.

CEOs of family businesses often have great difficulty in “letting go”. The issue is often an emotional one. Many business owners have invested so much time and money working long hours that they see stepping down as being “put out to pasture”. Ego, loss of self-worth, so called RDS (relevance deprivation syndrome – which retiring politicians claim they suffer from!) and perceived lifestyle all play a part.

Great leaders know when it’s time to pass the baton. We saw how John Howard, the former Prime Minister refused to hand over the leadership to Peter Costello. The result was a lost election in 2007, Costello leaving politics, Howard losing his seat (only the second prime minister to do so) and the Liberal party having 3 leaders in 3 years.

All businesses must have a succession plan. There are two types of succession plans; short term or emergency succession plans (the “what happens if you are hit by a bus?” scenario) and long term succession plans which protect your company’s culture, value and future. If you are a family owned business you owe it to your family, employees and customers to have a well planned and executed succession plan.

There is no greater satisfaction than mentoring and training a replacement successfully. If you do not plan for your succession then you have failed as a leader and have failed your business.

So know where you are in your career and business life cycle and start succession planning. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and you will be recognised for it. I have seen too many companies suffer because there was not a well planned and executed succession plan.

Start planning now…