Friday, December 7, 2012

Your Family Business Plan

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By Terry Orr

December is How to Write a Business Plan Month. Having authored far more business/strategic plans than I would like to admit – if done properly and updated as events change – can be an effective guide to success.  This article is going to focus on you Family Business Plan.

In a lot ways, I believe the Family Business Plan is critical tool to good sound family planning – a hint to which direction you want to be heading. It is more than just your financial and retirement plans - it bring all those  plans together.
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Now that I am retired from the daily grid – my home projects, chores and this blog occupy about 90% of my time these days and having my family plan helps keep me focused on what needs to be accomplished.  Like most folks, it is just a guide and real life events dictate changes – replacing a toilet, leak in the basement, or a car needs to be replaced.  My friend Bruce has some excellent habits on scheduling and ensuring preventive maintenance for his vehicles, heating and air conditioning, appliances, painting, caulking, and other things. I try and pass along those concepts to my children, grandchildren and friends – but you know how that goes (grin).

In previous articles, I have mentioned the wisdom of the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and other common sense approaches to life. Keeping it Simple – without all the drama and hype – makes life easier. So should be your Family Business Plan – short, sweet and to the point.
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According to Joanne Stern, Ph.D. - If you don't have a vision of where you're going and a plan on how to get there, you're likely to get swept away by the winds of life. You'll flop this way and that, not ever really knowing if you're off course and going in the wrong direction. Suddenly you may realize that you don't have money for that special family trip and everyone is disappointed. You may have spent your money on frivolous things without calculating the savings necessary to meet your family's vacation desires. Or one day you notice that your teenager doesn't talk to you anymore, and you don't know how it happened. You may blame her and think she's a bad kid-sullen and sneaky. But perhaps you neglected to set in place a plan for staying close and connected to her when she was younger.

She also writes:
Here are three reasons to create a family business plan that fits specifically for you and your children.
  1. It creates a sense of team within your family and bonds you to one another.
  2. It gets you to your goals.
  3. It creates a family culture.

Each family will have a different plan-a different vision, a different dream.
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There are plenty of resources available to draw ideas from to develop your family business plan – online, book stores, libraries, consultants, etc.  I encourage folks to review other plans that are available and find what they like and dislike to form the basic outline and concept for their own plan.  Remember, this plan should be kept current and not just another dust collector.
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Good luck and let us know how you plan is coming along.

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