Sharing Experience: Kevin Ward, Conatus Financing Solutions
What is a legacy?
As well as a business, a legacy could be a gift in the form of property, facilities, or knowledge. In all cases, it needs to be something that has a lasting impact. Leaving a legacy allows you to sow seeds for the future and create something meaningful that you or your business will be known, or remembered for.
Of course, a legacy could be in the form of philanthropy or education. If your business is successful financially, you could set up a charity or donate funds to good causes. You could also find the time to volunteer your talents to these. You may discover or invent something new, creating positive change. This could be a catalyst for development in your area of expertise, or be used in the education of others.
Equally, your legacy might be your business, and you may not want it to pass into unknown hands. But what if no family member wants to take it on? A management buy out is a popular option, but they may not have the funds that you hope to achieve, or the knowledge and experience of dealing with banks and lenders to borrow this money. To protect your business legacy, you might be proactive to help your buyers source funds, or for you to structure what you receive, to help fund them in full or part yourself.
So, where do you start?
So, if creating a legacy is important to you, where to start? Working out what you’d like to achieve is a good place to begin. Then work backwards, creating a plan to make it happen. Think about your values, the ethos you want to demonstrate in this process, and your passions. Can you link these to both your skillset and plans? What is unique about your legacy vision? Have you got potential successors who understand and share the key elements of your vision, and who would continue your legacy? If you’re looking to make a lasting impression, this is important, as it isn’t something that everyone can achieve. Consider those that inspire you. Who are your business heroes? What is it that has made their impact significant, and how can this contribute to your vision?
Aim to inspire others and invest in their education. Build an ethos of positive leadership and a culture that develops talent. The employees that you nurture now, could be your future succession and demonstrate your legacy to those you have influenced. Start a cycle of encouragement, progression and support and look for this to become self-replicating.
Dream big and aim to leave the world a better place. But be patient, because sometimes a legacy is a long-term vision. Plant the seeds, nurture them, and allow yourself and others to watch them grow.