Lead Your Legacy
Legacy. It’s a powerful word. You’ve probably given some thought to what you want your personal legacy to be. It likely has to do with your family and friends or your community. But what about your business legacy?
Don’t wait until retirement is on the horizon to consider what will happen to your business once you are gone. You’ve worked too hard to take the chance that everything you’ve worked so hard for will disappear once you’re no longer there daily.
Leaving a business legacy isn’t as simple as wisely planning your retirement and setting a date on the calendar. Your daily actions and decisions create the identity of the business you will leave behind and determine the impact and influence your work creates.
Your business’ legacy is the impact it will make on its culture, community, and customers after you have either sold or passed on your business to someone else. Your company mission statement is your description of what you hope to achieve with the company.
To leave your desired legacy, you must live it every day. What you and your employees do every day is the foundation that supports what you are building. It starts with your values and a vision for the future. Define what matters and make sure that everyone’s actions and decisions are aligned to supporting that vision.
Whether you are planning to leave your business to your children, merge your business with another company or sell your business, here are four tips for making sure your legacy is one you can be proud of:
- Plan for the end from the beginning – Your life within your business is like a journey. You can’t get to your ultimate destination (retirement or selling) without a clear view of where you are going and how you will get there. No matter where you are in your business life, start planning for the end. If you already have a plan, review it, check progress and make any changes as necessary.
- Establish a line of succession – Identify the people within your business who can lead it when you are gone. Make conscious efforts to grow their leadership skills. A thorough succession plan should address both who moves up and when it happens.
- Thoroughly document systems and processes – Your business can’t continue if people don’t know what to do or how it gets done. Thorough documentation is critical in establishing the value you will be passing on. If your business only exists in your head, it won’t continue without you in the room.
- Make your company culture visible in all you do – Your company culture is the living evidence of your company values. Your business legacy is established when an impact aligned with your values is achieved and sustained over time. When the right buyer or internal successor steps forward to run your business, you want to make sure that their intention is focused on continuing to make an impact consistent with the values you established.
No matter how far you are from the day that you will walk out the door, it’s important that you set an intention now for what your legacy will be. Make it one that you will be proud of.