April 2016

No one wants to think about the day when they will die or when they will no longer be leading their companies. But I know an important reality:
there is a 100% chance both will happen to you. I don't know when, or how, or where. I do know that at some point you will no longer be at the helm of your company and at some point your life on this Earth will end. Being prepared for those certainties cannot occur after the event that puts legacy in motion. Dead people do not create legacy. Dead companies don't either. Legacy happens as we live and lead.
Welcome to Spring!  April is upon us and we're moving quickly to our Q2 meetings in Dallas. The focus this quarter is on legacy, and I want to dig into the topic of business legacy in this edition of the HTGWAY.  
We are creating our legacy every day.  It isn't an event; it is the result of living a life and, in the case of our business, the result of leading others and running a company.  A legacy plan really has two key components - we spend more time talking about impact than we do about preparation.  This quarter I want to emphasize the importance of preparing well.
Two Legacies We Will Each Leave as Business Owners
Personal Legacy.  This not only includes thinking about the values you want to leave behind and the impact you hope to make on others.  It also encompasses a broad set of tasks that need to be completed like wills, power of attorney, health care directives, financial planning, estate and tax planning and so on.  Those things are critical to enable personal legacy to truly happen well.  They require time with a qualified and trusted person or team to help you put the details together and document them in the right way so they are ready for the implementation of your legacy, which happens when you die.  

Business Legacy.  The same questions around impact and values apply here as well; additionally it includes thoughts around business exit/succession, business continuity and disaster recovery planning.  

Preparedness is critical to help a small business survive a major change or challenge.  The data is staggering about this reality.  The common statement is that 80% of businesses affected by a major incident close within 18 months.  That should cause us to sit up and take notice.  But the truth is, a lot of IT organizations treat DR/BC like the story about the cobbler's children having no shoes.  

Many of us who have an idea of the impact of a disaster on a company's IT infrastructure don't do well here in helping our clients plan.  We also fail in creating plans for our own company around the impact of a disaster on IT let alone the broader impact that could happen with a disaster.  Different data sources give different figures, ranging from 60-90%, but the majority are toward the higher end of the scale and the lesson is clear: a disaster or personal crisis is a major issue for most SMB companies.  That is why Hands That Give exists, as we don't want any of our members facing these challenges alone and certainly not being one of those who make up the statistic of a small business that fails after experiencing a disaster.
The area I'm most concerned with these days - the one that is keeping me up at night some - is the business valuation of small businesses.  Many entrepreneurs leading their company do so with the plan in mind that this company will grow and become their retirement someday in the future.  For a lot of people, the future is quickly becoming the present.
Small business ownership, particularly in IT companies, is getting older and their busi
ness will soon be put to the test of whether it can fund retirement.  Whether companies are sold, merged, operated as an income stream or a host of other options, the reality is that a whole lot of owners are expecting to live primarily off the hard work and sweat equity they have invested in their company.  Day after day for the last 20, 25, or even 30 years they have gotten up early and stayed late to build their business.  At least that is what they have believed, but here is the fact that exposes that myth:  Hard work does not equal business value.  
People do not buy a job requiring hard work.  Unfortunately the business value piece of the equation has been pushed aside as people just assume their work will result in reward.
Don't Leave Your Future to Chance
Don't be deceived. Make sure you are doing the work now so there is no surprise when you are ready to make a transition. During your business exit/succession is not the time to discover that you have come up short from what you need and expect to receive. Service Leadership wrote a fantastic white paper on this very topic in the March 2016 Voice newsletter.  Be sure to read it and take action. This is one area you don't want to leave to chance! Make the decisions today to create value in your company.

I got an email earlier this month from a former HTG member who recently sold his company.  Here is his real life firsthand experience:  "I really share your concern with IT business owners thinking they will be able to sell their business and fund their retirement. I was fortunate to get something out of my business but nothing like I had "dreamed". People need to hear "real life experience".  There are way too many out there that are going to get an unpleasant surprise some day."  
HTG is passionate about helping you to create value.  Our mission is to walk with leaders in life and business to help them reach their desired growth and legacy.  We'll be talking a lot in the coming months about this important topic so be watching my blog and the HTG Newsletters. Only those companies that have created true business value are going to fulfill that dream.  And now is the time to make sure you aren't hallucinating about what will happen in your personal situation. TODAY is the day to start working on legacy -- not just the impact side but the preparation side as well!

Prospective Member List
The new and prospective members listed on the HTG HUB in the   Prospective Member List are being vetted by an HTG group for membership, or are invited to their next quarterly meeting. Per our membership agreement, this is the opportunity for HTG members-at-large to review the list and provide written feedback on any objections they may have to the members or prospects under consideration. Member companies have 48 hours following this email to communicate concerns to Scott Scrogin for review by the Advisory Council.