Over the entire course of running your business, it’s easy to become focused on the short term and forget that the future exists. Unfortunately, that puts your business in danger of being unable to continue operating at its current level when things inevitably change or go wrong.
To prevent this from happening, it’s crucial to develop a detailed continuity plan for your business.
A continuity plan refers to everything that keeps your business running for the long term. Whether that’s protecting against illness and death of key players in the business, or simply what will happen when you finally step down, it’s crucial to have one in place to protect your company’s financial security.
Indeed, not only does this ensure that the business will serve its customers in all scenarios, but also that you’ll leave a lasting legacy from all your hard work.
Here’s what to think about for your business’s continuity plan.
Writing out a clear, detailed plan
Often, business owners have a rough idea of what they want the future of the business to look like.
You might have loose plans for what you want to happen down the line. Perhaps you always envisaged one of your children taking over? Or you may have informally selected a member of staff to step into your shoes once you move on?
The key thing to do here is to create a clear, written-out plan that includes accurate details of what you want to happen in various scenarios.
This is important for everyone involved in your business, including you, your family, your shareholders, partners or employees, and even your customers.
That way, everyone knows where they stand and what might be expected of them in different scenarios. For your customers, this ensures that they’ll continue to receive the same high standards of service that they’ve come to expect from you.
A plan makes this all far easier and more manageable. Treat it as a major priority so that it’s in place in case anything goes wrong and remember to update it if your wishes change over time.
Protecting the business against the unexpected
Protection is a vital organ in the body of your plan, providing the business with a much-needed lifeline in the event that you ever need it.
Illness or death could affect the business in unforeseen ways, and you never know what’s around the corner. Here are three key types of cover that you may want to consider for your business:
- Business loan protection, helping to cover the cost of business debt, such as loans or commercial mortgages, if you or one of your business partners die.
- Key person insurance, paying a lump sum to the business in the event that a key person named on the policy dies or becomes terminally ill.
- Shareholder protection, providing you with the money to buy shares back from a business partner or their beneficiaries if they become terminally ill or die.
Read our blog to find out even more about the different kinds of protection you might need as a business owner.
The importance of a will and a Lasting Power of Attorney
As part of your continuity plan, you should give some thought to preparations for your personal future in relation to the business. Otherwise, should something happen to you, it could threaten the future of your business.
It may be sensible to include specific instructions for your business in your will, such as ringfencing parts of your wealth in trust to only be dealt with by those with sufficient knowledge of them.
That way, only trusted individuals with business experience and expertise will be responsible for administering assets for the company.
Similarly, you may already have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) that protects you medically, financially, or both if you lose mental capacity. But what about a Business LPA?
A Business LPA allows you to choose someone with commercial knowledge to make decisions for your company in the event that you’re unable to.
Relying on your regular LPA will see this responsibility passed on to the family member you’ve selected, which may be a role they’re simply not able to carry out. This could put the business in jeopardy, as they could be faced with an issue they don’t have the know-how to deal with.
Setting up your future affairs with your business in mind can ensure that only trusted, experienced individuals are left to deal with the business if you’re ever unable to do so.
Speak to a professional
If you’re unsure on any aspects of your business’s continuity plan, please get in touch with us at Cordiner Wealth.
As financial planners, we can help you design and implement a continuity plan that protects your business now, while ensuring that it carries out your legacy for years to come.
Email email@example.com or call 0113 262 1242 to speak to an experienced adviser.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.
This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.