What would happen if one of you passed away today? Or simply just left the business?
There was a time, about 4 years into our business that I got very sick with a chronic illness. For almost 2 years, I spent 50% of my time in bed, incapacitated as far as work goes. I couldn’t sit at my desk and could barely get enough of my work done to help us stay in business. Gratefully, I got better with a lot of help from family, friends and changing my lifestyle.
What will happen to your business if one of you isn’t able to work?
What if divorce affects your relationship and now one (or both) of you has to carry the business on?
We posed the question to a couple one day and the husband answered quickly and with confidence. “Oh, if I die, she can carry on with our business. Conversely, if she died, I’d be out of business in a month.”
He might have been exaggerating a bit, but what he said rang true with me. We have a small business and do most of the work ourselves, with the help of a half-dozen or so independent contractors.
How can you ‘learn’ one another’s jobs?
I have tasks within our business that could surely be ‘hired’ out if something should happen to me. Marc’s tasks, however, might be more difficult. He has specific skills that I’m not sure I could learn – something about that linear vs abstract brain function.
I could, however, probably rely on a few other people I know in the same industry to help me through a crisis time, as could Marc. I’m not sure we would ever take the time to learn the other person’s job.
What if your company employs 50 people? Perhaps you already provision for job-crossover, covering for vacations, etc.
Making provisions for a change-up, no matter if it is temporary or perhaps permanent, is an important step in keeping your business healthy. And if your business is healthy, your relationship can be healthy too!
Make a list of the major components of both of your daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Outline procedures for if one of you is unable to perform those tasks – e.g., who else knows how to do some of these things, and how do I reach them?
Keep the list updated on a quarterly basis, so that if one of you is injured and in the hospital, or just has the flu for 3 weeks, you can still keep your business running and helping you prosper.