The cost of failing to expect the unexpected

A post caught my eye on my social media feed yesterday.  It was a name I instantly recognized, but hadn’t seen or thought of in 25 years or more.  The post was for a GoFundMe campaign for an old college friend.  He’s a successful physician, and his wife a medical professional as well.  The storms of 2017 in the Houston area left their home uninhabitable, so they’re living in a 5th wheel trailer with their 2 pre-teen children.  Not long after the storms, my college friend suffered a heart attack which left him unable to maintain the grueling schedule of a private family medical practice, and when coupled with the cost of the storms, left the family’s finances in ruins.  To make matters worse, last month he had to undergo a second open-heart surgery, which appeared to be a complete success, until he didn’t wake up.  It seems he suffered a stroke during the procedure, and he now remains in ICU in Dallas, and his wife, attending to him at his bedside, is also unable to work in her medical practice back in Houston.

The silver lining, if there is one, is that the GoFundMe campaign has met its original goal in about 36 hours and continues to grow.  And, we pray that with the aid of the doctors, God’s invisible healing hand, and a little help from his friends (and probably some complete strangers), this family will recover and move forward.

Proactively Prepare & Ease Potential Risks

I’m sharing this 1) because your positive thoughts, prayers, etc. will certainly help, 2) because I’m immensely proud of my Alma Mater and its small but powerful alumni network–the call for help went out across our social media platforms within hours, and so many of the donors, some large and some small,  I see on the list are fellow alumni names I recognize, all pulling together to help one of our own in need, and 3) because my old college friend, a doctor in private practice (an entrepreneur), is just like me, every one of my clients, and probably every one of you reading this—we all fail to prepare for the unexpected.

This hits home particularly poignantly with me, since my wife, who works with a major corporation, is currently out of work on medical leave, due to a minor surgery.  Her company provides her with short- and long-term disability insurance, as well as an excellent health plan, and she will not miss a single paycheck or benefit, and will just use a handful of paid sick days, despite missing 7-8 weeks of work.

Protect Your Steady Income

Show of hands…  How many of us have even taken the few minutes it would require to investigate short or long-term disability insurance for ourselves, despite the fact we’re probably the primary breadwinner in our homes?  How many have investigated supplemental benefits (yes, like Aflac!) to cover out of pocket incidentals related to a major health event?  How many have asked their agent about mechanical breakdown or business interruption insurance that can provide your business with a continued revenue stream in the case of a major equipment failure or catastrophic weather event?  How many have quoted accounts receivable insurance to make sure that you collect for the work you’ve done? Ok, I can’t really see you, but I know, if you’re honest, almost none of you are raising your hands.  I’m not either.

You see, we as entrepreneurs are hard-wired to tolerate (or fail to perceive) astonishing amounts of risk without batting an eye.  We’re virtually immune to it.  The problem is, that doesn’t make us immune to the consequences of the unexpected actually happening.  Don’t we owe it to our families and to the 100’s, if not 1,000’s of other families that depend on us for a paycheck, to take off the cape and the suit of armor, and have an honest conversation about our personal and business vulnerabilities, and how to prevent the unexpected from having devastating consequences?

In the next weeks, I’m going to be having this conversation and suggesting a thorough business and personal risk assessment with each of my clients.  One of my mentors told me long ago that my job as an advisor to businesses was to “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Based on that, we’ll establish a strategic game plan to systematically chip away at the largest, or potentially most devastating of those risks.

If you’d like to have a conversation about the risks associated with your business, I, as a B2B CFO® have unique tools, talents and processes, to help you define, compartmentalize, and in some cases, eliminate those risks.  Let’s talk!  In the meantime, please keep my college friend and his family in your thoughts, and if the desire to help more strikes you, don’t hesitate to email me for a link to the GoFundMe page.

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