What would happen in your company if you were to suddenly become incapacitated for an extended period of time?

There is not much gray area when it comes to succession planning for roofing contractors. Either you have a plan or you don't.

Most roofing contractors are independent and operate as a small business. In most cases, without the roofing contractor-owner, there is no business.

It is difficult enough to consider what will happen to your business if you die or to make a plan to sell your business or have another family member take over. You should certainly have a plan for that. But what would happen in your company if you were to suddenly become incapacitated for an extended period of time? You can buy disability insurance (a great idea) to pay all or a portion of your salary. But will the business continue to run, even at a reduced capacity, until you are able to return?

Make a Plan

There is much to consider when it comes to complete succession planning and it should involve accountants, lawyers, insurance professionals and other business consultants. When it comes to planning for the possibility of your temporary absence, one essential thing a roofing contractor can do is institute cross training among all key people in the firm.

We all have a tendency to work with blinders on and set up our people and systems to work in a specific, narrow part of the business. If, however, you put your key people on a path to learn other aspects of the business while doing the job to which they are currently assigned, they will gain more knowledge and skill and become a more valuable asset to you. After all, one of them may have to step in and take the place of another for an extended period of time. One of them may even have to take your place.

There are more benefits to cross training than simply insuring against your possible absence, which may or may not ever occur. Having people working together that understand each other's jobs can be extremely valuable. Developing a culture where the people are engaged with each other, and involved in training each other, makes for a more stable and enjoyable place to work. As hard as it is to find great people, I don't need to tell you how important those things are.

Once you have built your team to the point where you are comfortable in making a more formal plan, you will want to formalize the plan in the event should you become unable to perform. This is where you will want to bring in the lawyers and close family and partners to draw up a written plan. This is icing, however. The real deal will be having people who are prepared step in and keep the enterprise whole while you are not able to be there in full control.

A Great Training Opportunity

While I am on the topic of training, I would like to invite you all to join us November 9-10 for our Best of Success conference in Dallas. The conference will feature presentations geared specifically to roofing contractors, to help you succeed in your business. You will have the opportunity to not only hear the presentations, but also take part in lively and active panel discussions and network with contractors from all over the country. This conference offers you a great cross training opportunity. Bring some of your key people so they can get a taste of the kind of training you seek as the leader of your firm.

Keep an eye on our Web site (www.roofingcontractor.com/bestofsuccess) and coming issues of Roofing Contractor for more complete details on conference speakers and content. This two-day conference is guaranteed to help you grow your business and profits for years to come.