Is your business prepared for a disaster? While it is not something any of us like to think about – we all should. Odds are that our community will face the unthinkable sometime in the not so distant future. Anything from an earthquake, fire, flood even a long term power outage or flu epidemic could prove to be devastating to even the strongest business. While many large businesses have contingency plans for catastrophes already in place, most small to medium companies do not, which according to many experts – can result in their demise in the wake of a disaster. David Paulison, former executive director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a recent phone conference stated "Small businesses that don't have a plan in place generally don't survive after a disaster, whether it's a flood or a tornado. We see that anywhere from 40-60 percent of those that are hit simply don't come back to business".
When considering the transition of a family business from one generation to the next, clear communication and careful planning are integral to the ‘success of the succession’. Family business owners are well served to begin planning for the succession long before the event is necessary (experts suggest as long as 15 years prior to retirement). Unfortunately, most business owners fail to plan seriously for their own succession.
This ‘lack of planning’ may have a great deal to do with the fact that while 90% of US Small businesses are family owned, only 30% stay in the family from the first generation to the second and only 15% make it on to a third generation according the U.S. SBA.