Your employees must feel engaged and aligned to your vision if you are to retain their services in the long term

Building a robust economy starts with individual businesses. But we do not run a business in a vacuum. Our success leads to the success of the region and ultimately that of UK plc. I do not believe in the motto ‘dog eat dog’ when it

comes to business, more like ‘dog help dog’ (and I should know as we have three office dogs at Future Life Wealth Management!). We are all in this together and where possible can help other local businesses, other individuals and local causes. Running a business is not all about taking, it is also

about putting back. That way we all benefit. Call it good karma, but I do believe what goes around comes around. For that reason, we make sure we put back into the local

economy and area. We offer free advice to other business owners with our regular masterclasses; we support local charities with donations, for example Ashgate Hospice; we champion the region with civic work, such as being a patron of the Chamber, and we mentor students and young entrepreneurs. All of this on top of the day job - but all of it is

worthwhile because we all benefit from building a strong local and national economy. But running a business is tough work. I should know, I

have run one for ten years and advised dozens of others who have done the same. And the one thing we often fail to do is plan. And the old saying is so true: failing to plan is just planning to fail. It is easy when you are dealing with the day to day minutiae of work to just do that; work on the minutiae, plan no further than the next day or two. But we all know we need to plan much further ahead; we need to think about the company finances, the staff, the way forward. And as a business owner we also have to think about

ourselves too; our finances, our way forward. You might have a business plan, and even a marketing plan, but I bet you don’t have a personal plan. So where to start?

‘We all know we need to plan much further ahead; we need to think about the company finances, the staff, the way forward’

Let’s have a look at the people working in your business.

Are you key to the profitability or even very existence of your business? What would happen if you were ill or had to stop working? Have you thought about key person insurance? With critical illness, a payment into the business can allow you the time to get better and recover from an illness, rather than forcing you to return to work when you are still unwell, because the business is failing and cashflow is an issue. The terms of the cover and the sums assured can change

in line with the business. And remember the key people may not be the owners, they could be the person who brings in the sales. Key person insurance is not going to change the awful reality of someone’s illness or death, but it may help your business cope with the loss of a vital member of staff. Key person insurance will pay out a lump sum and that

lump sum might just help your business cope with the loss of income caused by the death of that person or help pay for recruitment of a replacement. Having the insurance will give you some sort of peace of mind should the worst happen. It won’t change reality, but it might just soften the blow. You can also work to make sure that you keep key

people for as long as you can. These days when people move jobs so often, that is not always so easy. According to Deloitte nearly half of all millennials across the world are considering quitting their job within two years and in the UK people now change jobs every five years according to research by LV. So how do you hang on to key people? It’s not all about

pay, although of course that helps. You have to keep people engaged in what they are doing and show you appreciate them. You might offer staff more responsibility, more training or even shares. Remember, staff care about who they work for. Are they loyal and proud to work for you? Happy staff are far more productive too. Back to the worst case scenario planning. Have you got a

shareholder agreement in place and are you keeping it up to date? As well as key person insurance you might need to think about shareholder protection. What would happen to the shares in your company if one of the major shareholders or partners died? It might be that those shares will pass directly to one of their beneficiaries, leaving the company in an awkward situation. The beneficiaries may want to sell the shares, become involved in the business, or take no interest at all.

business network November 2019 65

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