Business Succession and Catastrophe Planning

Are you a business owner? What would happen to the business if suddenly you could no longer work?  Does your family or those in and around your company know what to do in the event of your death, a serious accident or serious illness?  If you are a business owner that would like to see the business continue, you need to consider business succession planning. 

Because of the unique structure of every business and many factors involved in business succession, there is no “one size fits all” template. In order to build a well thought out business succession and catastrophe plan, we find it is best to start with the questions and work toward producing and implementing a plan.  

The list of questions below serves as a good starting point. If you died, or became sick or incapacitated:  

  1. Who would be in control of the business?
    • Your partner?
    • Your spouse?  
    • Has anyone been given authority? 
  2. Who will make immediate day to day decisions?
    • Have they been trained and empowered?
    • Have they been informed of this power?
    • Have they been test-driven?
  3. If a family member assumes the company reins, how will they interact with key employees?
    • What is their relationship with key employees?
    • Have you secured non-family management? 
  4. Do key employees have a reason to stay after the owner’s death or incapacity? 
    • If you hire a successor, are they well compensated?
    • Are employees tied to the company?
    • Have you protected company confidential information?
  5. Who are key advisors and how do they need to be contacted?
    • Attorney
    • Accountant
    • Banker
    • Financial Partners
  6. Who is your banker and who will interact with your banker?
    • What are the loan covenants?
    • Who can access bank accounts?
    • Who can draw on the company line of credit?  
  7. What customers need to be contacted? 
    • What are the company’s talking points?
  8. What major vendors need to be immediately contacted? 
    • What bills need to be paid as early as possible? 
  9. How will the owner’s family receive income? 
    • How much and when?
    • Will others need to be hired or assume new responsibilities?  
  10. Are there facts and information that only the owner would know? 
    • Passwords, Procedures, Logins?
    • Pricing, Budgeting or Project Costs?
  11. Who owns a controlling interest in the company?
    • How do you balance the interests of working and non-working shareholders / family members?
  12. Where is information located that will be needed in this situation? 
    • Corporate / LLC Documents, Confidential Information, Estate Plan Documents? 

If you would like to discuss any of the above and your specific situation, please contact BCK. 

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