Life Goal #3: Building a Legacy

We’re taking you back to school with a fun little multiple choice question: 

  1. What is most important to you?
  • Keeping abreast with fads and trends
  • Building something of lasting value and impact

 For us, we’d choose to create a legacy every time. And we suspect you do too. 

How that looks like for each of us may differ, though. For some, legacy may be the difference they make in their community, for others it’s to help their employees reach their goals and dreams. Others want to build a service or product that provides great value to their customers. And others want to change the way people think about things – for the better. 

Having a vision of the legacy you want to create is only half the battle. You need a strategy to bring that vision into fruition and keep it alive for decades after you’ve hung up your hat. 

Part of building a legacy is to have a succession plan in place. Not only will you keep the vision alive, but you’ll also provide financial security for yourself and your family. If you don’t, all the love, sweat and tears you’ve put into the business over the years may go to waste. It will stop when you stop being around.

 

3 Elements of Succession Planning 

There are three important elements to succession planning. We can help you to plan for and put all of these in place so that your legacy can keep going for years to come:

 

1. Your Team 

Your people are the most important part of the plan. They form the backbone of the business; they’re the ones that keep the wheels turning – even if your business is highly automated. 

You want to retain your best employees and prepare them for their future roles, without your input. 

Don’t just think about top management, though, think about all seats on the bus. Who are your rockstars the business can’t do without?  What about the salesperson who knows all your clients’ life stories and children by name? What about the electrician who fixes problems you don’t even know you have? 

What happens if these rock stars aren’t around anymore? 

When building your team… 

  • Identify the right people for future roles. The next person in line may not be the obvious choice. Look further. You may have some young employees with the right attributes that you can develop – both technical skills but also the attitude and willingness to grow.
  • Next, talk to them about their career goals. Do they see themselves in the roles you have in mind for them?
  • If you have any talent gaps, start hiring the right people.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, invest in the training and development of your team.

 

2. Structures and Processes 

Who is responsible for what? How do you do x and y? 

Put structures in place and document procedures and templates so that everybody knows what they should do and how to do it. We call ours “This is the Way”. 

Once you’ve developed that, make sure you test them and train people to follow the processes.

 

3. The Money

Ah, the money. Often neglected and forgotten. 

Every change has a cost to it, and planning for succession is no different. You need a budget. 

Here are some of the costs to consider: 

  • Hiring costs: If you don’t have the right talent in-house you need to hire, and rock stars don’t come cheap.
  • Overlapping salaries: You may need to employ a CEO to work with you for six months or a year before you leave to teach them the ropes. This is true for other key positions as well. Not only will this provide a sense of stability, but when you leave, your team are already comfortable interacting with the new person.
  • Salary increases: To retain your rock stars and superstars you may need to offer higher salaries. The new CEO may demand more than what you have been willing to take home.
  • Staff development: One of the most important aspects is developing leadership skills and training your team on technical skills. You may even need to hire a coach to help guide you and your employees through the transition period.
  • Bonuses and benefits: A change in leadership often causes staff turnover because of fear of the unknown. You may want to offer bonuses and benefits to your rockstars that the business can’t afford to lose.
  • Replacement costs: Despite putting all the above in place, you may still lose some people. Make sure you budget for replacement costs.
  • Your accountant and other advisors: You need people by your side – experts who have expertise and experiences that you don’t have. You need an outside perspective. You need a confidant, to listen to your challenges and help you to solve them.

 

Ready to Build Your Legacy? 

Putting a succession plan in place can feel overwhelming. Whether you need help with your budget, putting structures in place, helping you choose the best team, or being your sounding board for your ideas, we’d love to help. 

Don’t try to go it alone.

 

Your Impact Manifesto and the Role of Your Business in the World

What do you remember most from your grandparents? Maybe it’s the life lessons they taught you, the tears they wiped after your cousin said something nasty to you, or when they encouraged you to get back up again after you fell. Maybe they taught you to have fun and smell the flowers along the way.

Or maybe, what you remember most, is the inheritance they left you. The money and the stuff.

Hmm… not likely. For most people, what they value most from their grandparents is the impact they made in their lives.

It’s the same in business. Making money is good – you have to put food on the table – but the thing we’re most concerned about is the impact we make in the world and the lives around us.

Impact looks different for everyone because we all have different things we care about. But the best way to make sure you make the impact you want to, is to get clear on what your impact goals are. Then share it, and start living it.

Your impact manifesto is your anchor.

As your business changes and grows over the years, and as you learn more about business and your clients, it’s easy to veer off course – all the ideas you’ve had about the impact you wanted to make long forgotten.

But, if you have a clear Impact Manifesto, it stays in front of mind. You can weigh every business decision against it and choose the option that is most aligned with your impact goals. And if none of those options fit, then you know that you should go back to the drawing board.

 

Creating Your Impact Manifesto

When choosing your impact goals, there are broadly two categories to consider: Immediate impact and legacy impact.

Immediate impact refers to the lives you change today. Here are a few examples:

  • Your employees: Creating a working environment where they feel you value their opinion, and they know they can ask questions or raise concerns.
  • Your customers: Focusing on the difference your product or service makes in the lives of your clients. For instance, an architect or builder may want to create a house for their clients where they can live the lifestyle they desire.
  • Community and environment: Creating a product or service that is better for the environment. For instance, as a coffee shop, you can encourage customers to bring their own reusable coffee cup.

Legacy impact refers to the long-lasting difference you make. Here are a few examples:

  • Employees: Creating a culture of learning where you train and mentor your employees. You can help them develop their career so they can become the best they possibly can.
  • Customers: Being a thought-leader in your industry and championing a different approach. For instance, an architect who designs modular houses from sustainable materials that are cheaper and easier to build. They make it affordable to not only create a quality, dream house, but also do better for the environment.
  • Community and environment: Creating awareness about an important topic and shifting the way people think about something. For instance, depression used to be a taboo topic. Now people can reach out for help without being afraid of what others would say. 

 

A Few Snippets from BWMD’s Impact Manifesto

We believe that your business is a tool to help you create the lifestyle you dream of. We also believe that success looks different to everyone. For some, they want to grow their business quickly and consistently. For others, they want to make just enough money to lead a comfortable life, with lots of time for other things, like spending time with family, travelling, or pursuing a hobby.

That’s why, the first question we ask you, is “what does success look like for you?” And then we help you craft your business on your terms.

That is the legacy we want to leave. What’s yours?