SPC 010: Overcoming Obstacles with Anita T. Conner

4 Ways to Protect Your Business In Case You Get Sick

4 Ways to Protect Your Business In Case You Get Sick

Everyone thinks cancer is a death sentence. However, Anita and Keri Conner had a different perspective. After being diagnosed with an advanced and aggressive stage breast cancer, Anita was instructed by the doctor to get her affairs in order. She and her eight team members just celebrated the ten year anniversary of their accounting firm Anita T. Conner and Associates.

While going through rigorous treatments – including chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, and injections – Anita still managed her workload from the hospital. “It was the best two years at the practice because everybody stepped up,” she says.

No business owner ever expects that they’ll have a health crisis, but the fact remains you need to be prepared for one. On Anita’s ten year anniversary of being in remission, she found out that her 33-year-old daughter Keri had advanced stage breast cancer. In a Forbes article, Siimon Reynolds, author of Why People Fail, cites sicknesses as a common reason for businesses going under.

Anita shared the following insights on protecting yourself and your business before a crisis strikes:

Protect Your Assets: Obtain personal disability insurance that will protect you as the business owner in case you become ill. The coverage will make sure that personal expenses are taken care of and if you lose a major client you can still pay the mortgage. Get covered; organizations like NASE offer health insurance for small companies.

Secure the Legacy:  Anita shared that every business owner should have a succession plan. Be able to answer the question, “Who is going to take over the business if I suddenly become ill or die?” Businesses with more than one owner should have these details included in their partnership or operating agreements so everything is clear if a tragedy should arise. In the absence of the proper documents, you could unexpectedly be in business with your partner’s spouse.

Train the Team: Businesses can cushion the loss of a team member for everything including death to maternity leave by cross-training employees. If you run a bakery, for example, your cashier should be aware of how to take phone orders, follow up with clients and perhaps prep orders going out for delivery. Training team members in several positions gives them the opportunity to develop professionally while mitigating business risks.

Build the Systems: The core of the business needs to run without the owner. That includes everything from the customer placing the order to the goods showing up at the door. Often in younger businesses, the owner is involved in every aspect. This is something that needs to change overtime as the business develops.

Anita and Keri Conner have continued to grow the firm. Anita says, “I was told by the doctor what I had most women don’t survive, but God gave me a second chance at life.” Her daughter Keri wrote My Mommy has Breast Cancer but It’s Ok, a book that helps diagnosed moms explain the disease to their children. The Conners have started a foundation called Praise is the Cure that educates caregivers of breast cancer patients. Every day, Anita and Keri are living life to the fullest.

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