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Business Owners: What Will Your Legacy Be?

by Linda Coors on February 12, 2014 · 0 comments

Business Owners: What Will Your Legacy Be?I read a great blog post on Inc. magazine’s website recently that really got me thinking. The article, “If You Want to Leave a Legacy, Start Now” by Les McKeown, is all about business owners who won’t let themselves let go, at the expense of the well-being of their businesses after they’re gone.

 

Sound familiar?

Green industry businesses are run by passionate businesspeople dedicated to a job well done. And many (if not most) green industry businesses are also small businesses or family-run businesses — or both.

When you’re used to doing everything yourself in a business you built from the ground up — or otherwise hold very close to your heart — it can be incredibly difficult to find ways to delegate tasks and build a system that will live on well after you’ve moved on to the next phase of your life or passed away. (We all know the old saying: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”)

Doing It All Isn’t Sustainable

The problem: Doing everything yourself isn’t sustainable. It’s not sustainable for you as your business outgrows your ability to handle it all, and it’s not sustainable for your business after you’re gone. 

So how will you create your legacy? Will it be a set of values you pass on to family members you leave the business to? Will it be a systematic way of doing things, a set of written-in-stone rules about how customers and clients should be treated? Will it be an institutional hierarchy, a division of labor, to prevent mutiny when suddenly the captain isn’t around anymore to shout down orders?

Here’s a quick excerpt from the blog post:

So the question is this: If you want to leave a legacy, what are you waiting for?

The time to start is now. “Later” is too late. Take a look at your calendar–what’s on it that involves you consciously, overtly, avowedly institutionalizing, depersonalizing, your vision?

If the answer is “nothing,” then what you’re building isn’t a legacy. What you’re building is the complete opposite: You’re building a culture of dependency. Dependency on you.

Yes, it’s great to be wanted. It’s comforting to be needed. But neither will build a legacy.

What Will Your Legacy Be?

If that hits home for you, it’s time to start thinking about how to transform your vision into something sustainable that you can pass along to whoever carries the torch after you’re gone. It’s a morbid thought, yes, but a reality we all must face.

What does leaving a legacy mean to you, and what will yours be?

Read the rest of the post on Inc.com.

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