Wordsmith Planning : Immunodeficiency and Business Owners in India

By immunodeficiency of business owners, I do not mean corona virus or any disease only but the shock, trials and sepsis in various forms that a business owner can encounter in his / her journey long or short journey.

I have observed and you might have also seen that many rich and affluent business families became borderline poor when the owner suddenly died. Or due to some internal issues, the owner reacted in such a way that the business collapsed – immovable property related feuds, lawsuit or anything that erupts without notice.A business owner has no pension as Government employees get. This is important.

For business owners of the present and those who will become business owners in India, I submit the following for their consideration, not for agreement or for any action.

If I die in next 15 mins, what happens to my family ? How secured are the cash flows ? How easy and secured are the assets ? How insured I am ? Have I kept a succession program in place, that will kick in ?  In short, after 15 mins from now when I have died in in the film I am playing in my mind, what is the maximum (least secured) and the minimum (most secured) cash flow my family gets per month ?

Many business owners in India are secretive – they do not trust anyone, possibly for good reasons. Thus very core business documentation is in the head of the owner and none knows. One has the technology to extract data from burnt hard disk but how can you extract data from dead man’s brain ?

If I die in next 15 mins, will my family have access to all the documentation – bank, lockers, passwords, nominations, mutation, tax details, title deeds, insurance  neatly and clearly in a place ? Many families not only fell in dire straits but they could not get access to their legitimate assets on time because of lack of documents or having access to these.

Many business owners in India are worshipers of growth which I admit is a  good thing. But this becomes dangerous when there runs a parallel unexamined thinking that growth is something like snake oil and will take care of all problems. Thus these type do not spend time on consolidation.

If I die in next 15 mins, how will my business will evolve ? Are my partners in all shape and forms ethical ? Because if they are not, the incentive of not honouring commitments are too high considering absence of legal coercive measures, at least in the short term ? Have I prepared someone – wife, daughter, son, nephew, niece, within family to at least take over on short term basis and run till a system is devised. Have I created a succession planning or anything of that kind ?

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May I remind my readers – If I die in next 15 mins, 15 mins is a luxury – one may not have any notice. Life is a gift and not a right. Death is not a Amazon delivery service with notification.

One of the greatest triumphs of human mind over death is this : It can imagine what it is to die and create a whole film out of it.

May I remind my Bengali readers to the song of Tagore : “যখন পড়বে না মোর পায়ের চিহ্ন এই বাটে” – where a whole “film” is created imagining “when I am no longer here” and this training of the mind is so useful.

I am convinced that highest level of imaginary literature addresses most profound issues of business – issues that remain when even you are no longer here.

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