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Focus on your legacy to create a future proofed business
11 March 2020
As business advisors, we like to know what keeps business owners motivated; the nature of their leadership, whether it is just general business and personal success or whether leaving a legacy for future generations is the driving force.
Are you inspired to aim higher and work harder by the idea that you will leave something of value behind? In this fast-paced, innovative, ever-evolving environment, is it now harder for leaders and entrepreneurs to remain true to the concept of legacy? Or is the dream to sell out at the first opportunity and move on to something else or retire as a self-made billionaire? Even family businesses need to react quickly to disruption and change and can no longer ‘leave it to the next generation’.
What you leave behind
What does ‘legacy’ actually mean? Is it about immortalising the family name above the door? Bringing an exciting and innovative new product to market? Introducing new working or management practices? Inspiring the next generation?
Leaving a healthy legacy is not necessarily about promoting yourself a figurehead or shouting about your successes. In fact, it’s not even about you.
Legacy is about caring what happens next – to your business, your people and your customers in the future. If you’re focused on your payday rather than your legacy, you’re likely to target short-term gains at the expense of building a robust, future-proofed business.
After all, you’re setting the pace of the company, providing a runway for future talent and determining its reason for being on a daily basis, all of which build value over time.
More about personal gain
A business owner who rejects the idea of a legacy is missing out on an opportunity to discover personal meaning, structure and direction. But more importantly, they are at risk of undermining the eventual sale price too.
As the owner, how do you feel about your team? Whether it is respect, trust, satisfaction, frustration, disappointment or otherwise – it is amplified down the ranks of your organisation. If you don’t care how your people see you or what happens after you’re gone, morale, productivity, staff retention – and, ultimately, the value of your business – will suffer.
Plan a legacy to succeed
If you’re a business owner that has built a great management team and ‘works on’ the business rather than ‘works in’ the business then you already have a head start. Business planning is essential to the success of any company, of any size, because it makes you look up from your day-to-day duties and take a future view with risk management in mind.
Why legacy is such an important part of that process is because, ironically, focusing your attention on the next phase of growth and future development, can significantly increase the value of your business and bring benefits along the way.
Having your ambitions & legacy in mind from the outset is vital for the future success and sustainability of your business.