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How to impress upon business owners the importance of a business succession plan

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Ryan PlattIn the past four years, I have been recommending that my business-owner clients draft what I call their Strategic Contingency Plan. When a business owner dies, even the perfect plan does not usually include steps on what will happen at their business the day after the death of the business owner. I call this “the process to prevent roadkill of the business.” To initiate the process, I ask the business owner, “If last night you became part of a Mack truck grill on the local interstate highway, what happens this morning in your office when the calls start coming in?”

These are the kinds of calls I ask the business owner to think about:

  • The business owner’s banker will call, wanting to see whoever is now going to pay off the outstanding business loan.
  • Customers will call, wanting to know who now will take care of their orders.
  • Vendors will call, wanting to know whether they should still fulfill the order requested just yesterday.
  • The business owner’s own employees will call, asking whether they should come to work today and whether they will still have a job.

With the Strategic Contingency Plan in place, there will be answers for what the owner wants to take place in order to take care of these kinds of inquiries.

The preceding is an excerpt from the January 2010 Producer Roundtable feature in Life Insurance Selling.

Ryan F. Platt, MBA, Certified Special Care Planner, is a financial planner with Hinrichs Flanagan Financial in Charlotte, N.C.


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