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Recently I found myself looking around for a candid camera and asking “is this really happening?”  You see, over the past three weeks or so, my own business continuity plan has been tested and tested and tested again.

I live to share my story and to encourage other women in business to be prepared.

Planning for What You Think Will Never Happen to You

Working with business owners who plan for the sale or transfer of their business to others gives me the opportunity to Candid Camerareally get to know my clients.  One very important part of our planning process is to work with the business owner as they decide how to protect their business in case of their incapacity and how to transfer their estate to others after they pass away.  This is where my story begins.

Three weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with one of my favorite clients.  We worked with her Attorney to update her business continuity and estate plan.  This important planning was done many years ago and it was time to make some major changes. The most difficult part of the discussion was with regard to matters she needed to address in her family.   I sensed it was emotionally difficult for my client to do so.  We advised her to make the necessary changes as soon as possible.

Not Another Day at the Office

As I was driving home from the meeting, I became very ill.  If you know me well, you know that I don’t get ill often and when I do, I press on and just work through it.  I absolutely hate being ill.
Before the evening ended, I found myself in an ambulance and on an operating table having an emergency appendectomy.  It literally happened in a matter of a few hours with absolutely NO advance warning.

In addition to a good surgeon, I needed to set in motion my own business continuity plan!  I began to look for the candid camera when I realized I just spent the afternoon discussing such a plan with my client.

Although I thought the surgery would have a good ending (pun is intended), the thought of going under general anesthesia caused me to pause and think about my own estate documents.  I wondered if my husband knew where my life insurance policy was located.  Really, I did.  Maybe it was because my client and I chatted only a few hours beforehand about the fact that she had life insurance, however didn’t know whether her children knew about the policy.  Or maybe it was the medication they had me sedated with?

I also though about whether someone in my office could transfer the payroll money into the payroll account the next day for me or not.  You see, the person who normally handled this task was on vacation and I was the backup to him!  So I needed a backup for my continuity plan!

And I needed to find a way to cover the meetings and conference calls I was scheduled for over the next week…or so.  That was easy enough as I asked my husband to call my assistant to make those arrangements.  So in a matter of a few hours, my continuity plan kicked in.  All was well.

Not So Fast…

While this may seem like a very self-serving blog post…blah, blah, blah, aren’t I smart?  Don’t worry.  I’m not.  Upon return to my home, post-surgery, I encountered few bumps in the road.   Seems I missed a few opportunities to plan for the unforeseen and found myself looking for that candid camera again.  I will share more in my next blog post about this and what we must do now.

As for my client, she expeditiously finalized her business continuity and estate plan.  In fact, she told me that what happened to me only hours after our meeting nearly scared her to death!

If you haven’t drafted or re-visited your business continuity plan, I encourage you to do so.  If you are a business owner and have a family, you have many people you care about who rely on YOU.  What’s holding you back?

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Holly Magister, CPA, CFP

Holly A. Magister, CPA, CFP®, is the founder of Enterprise Transitions, LP, an Emerging Business and Exit Planning firm. She helps entrepreneurs assess, re-align, and accelerate their business with the intent of ultimately executing its top-dollar sale.
Holly also founded ExitPromise.com and to date has answered more than 2,000 questions asked by business owners about starting, growing and selling a business.
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