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How To Plan A Planning Day For Small Business Owners


Set aside time to consider the subjects in this article and whatever else may be relevant to your business and personal life. The sooner the better.

Step 1. Create goals.

  • Revisit your intentions and goals as they've evolved since you became involved with the business.
  • Now that you see things through diagnosed eyes:
    • Do you want to shift your work/personal life balance? Change the way you work?
    • Are there parts of your job that you don't like that you can pass on to others? Or maybe even parts that you do like but which can be done more efficiently by someone else --  freeing you to do other things you like or for which you're the only person. Or that should be done by somebody else so you can train them to assure continuity.
    • Look at what we call your Real Earnings -- the amount of time you really spend working divided by the amount of money you spend because of your work. Our article on Real Earnings can help you do a quick calculation. Add in the tangible and intangible benefits of owning your own business. If nothing else, the few minute exercise is likely to point you in the direction to work more efficiently. How does your medical condition affect the new plans you've started or want to start? Should the plans be put on hold? Sped up?
    • How will business be handled if you become unable to work for a short period of time? For a longer period of time? If you die?
    • If you could be working more at home, what would make your work area better? What additional tools should you purchase and learn to use now?
  • If you want to keep the business, what do you want to happen to it after you die? Do you want it to be continued? To be sold?

Step 2. Set a date.

  • Set a date when you can focus on the potential impact of your health condition on your business.
  • Plan to either be alone or with the advisors with whom you usually make major business decisions. If people aren't going to be with you, make sure they're available if you need to reach out to them during your planning session.
  • Schedule at least a half a day, preferably a whole day. If you don't need that long, you can cut it short and go back to work -- or even take the rest of the day off.

Step 3. Create an agenda.  For instance:

  • How will the company run if you need time off, at varying levels of such need?  (For tips to consider, click here.)
  • Even if legal arrangements are in place, think through the nuts and bolts for accomplishing what you wantFor example:
    • If the business is to be sold, during your lifetime or after?
    • Who should sell it?
    • Who can help your heirs determine a price if you're no longer in the picture? Who should they use as an advisor?
    • Is it advisable to purchase life insurance to fund what you wish to do?
    • How will the company run until a new person takes over or a sale occurs?
  • Look at the company's employee benefits. Is it in your interest to increase the benefits?
  • What happens to health insurance for your employees if the business closes? If the business terminates, the group health insurance terminates. COBRA doesn't apply. If the group plan is terminated, so does COBRA coverage.
  • What if there's a disaster such as a flood or tornado? If you haven't already done disaster planning, this is a good time to do it. What happens if you're out of business for days, or weeks or months? Or the office is destroyed? In addition to insurance reimbursement, how will you continue to serve your customers? To attract new ones?
  • What needs to be done to finance your retirement at varying degrees of wellness?

Step 4. Alert your advisors and Team Members.

  • If your advisors will be at a meeting, even if only via telephone or video, let them know your agenda. Perhaps they have additions to make.
  • If they're not going to be at the meeting, ask for their thoughts about:
    • How your medical condition can impact your business and what they would advise. Perhaps they have items to suggest adding to your agenda.
    • Agenda items to consider that are in their realm of expertise.

Big decisions do not have to be made on the spot, even if to do so is your normal style. At least sleep on a decision overnight before starting to take action. At the same time, don't let thinking about a decision be an excuse for putting off a decision. Accidents can (and do) happen.

When you make plans, set deadlines by which to do each plan. Note the deadlines the same way you note important other deadlines in your life.

Last but not least: plans are not set in stone. Review them periodically to assure they are up to date and reflective of changing facts.

For additional information, see:

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