Can Your Business Exist Without You?
What would happen to your business if you suddenly died in an accident? Would if fall apart or run smoothly in another persons hands?
Being Memorial Day I was thinking about our troops when it it dawned on me that out of the thousands of reservists who are now active duty, many own their own businesses and some probably own online businesses. What did they do when called up?
Whether it’s in relation to death or just incapacity to oversee day to day operations, we all need a plan to make sure our businesses are self sufficient and can provide for our families future. Here’s a good start for such a plan.
- Create a will and a living will outlining my desires for the business.
- Put everything under an LLC/Corportation so I am only a stock holder and not an owner. Should I die, the only thing that must be willed to a family member is my stock. Domains, Adsense, etc do not have to be transfered to a new owner.
- Create a living document that is updated quarterly with all the companies assets like domains, hosting accounts, revenue accounts, both business and personal email accounts, etc (with logins for each) laid out in plain english. This document will remain in both the hands of my family lawyer and a safety deposit box.
- Create another document outlining the day to day operations of all websites and future plans. Describe how they operate, what systems they are built upon, and and detailed technical specifications whether obvious or not.
- Slowly wean myself off doing the day to day operations such as content creation, link building, user moderation, server maintenance, etc by hiring freelancers or in house employees if money permits. Start to work “on” my business and not “in” my business.
I think #5 is the most important aspect and actually just good business. As a business owner, you should be the ambassador for my company and not it’s manual labor. I know many people are not in the position yet to make such a move, but the sooner you can start hiring help, the faster your revenue will grow. SEOBlackHat puts it better than I can with “You are the CEO“.
What’s easier to take over, down and dirty webmaster work or management of workers who are familiar with their duties? So act like a CEO and keep good documentation on how to run the business and it’s workers. Your bank account and your family will thank you for it.