3 questions Georgia business owners must ask about business planning

Every Georgia business owner should analyze the need for a business plan by asking these three questions.

Do you have a long-established company in Atlanta? Are you starting a new business venture in Savannah? Are you doing all you can to protect your business from liabilities and risks? Have you identified the steps you need to take before passing on the reins to the next generation?

Business owners who have taken the time to set up formal business plans - and who review them on a regular basis - often have a good idea of where they are at and where they are going. If you do not have a business plan, ask yourself these three questions.

Why does my business need a formal plan?

In the corporate and business world, failing to plan is planning to fail. No matter where your company is in its lifecycle, a business plan can help you keep your eyes on the end goal.

It is easy to be sidetracked by the business of owning a business. An abrupt change in the market, a dispute with a competitor, an internal disagreement with a partner or the sudden death of a co-owner can throw your company into turmoil. A formal plan - created when co-owners were thinking clearly - can provide direction and the steps to take when difficult situations arise.

Can a business plan help my entity avoid legal disputes?

Whether you have a startup company or have been in business for many years, a business plan will help you identify potential problems. Additionally, careful analysis of your business needs before starting a new venture will help you determine which entity can provide the best liability protection.

Work through the "what if" scenarios with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about your line of work and who takes the time to assess your unique goals. Within your plan, you can lay out courses of action to take when issues arise. These can help you prevent and manage disputes if they occur. You can also identify which scenarios will require litigation. You can be proactive rather than reactive.

In addition to establishing a plan for smart growth and limiting liability, a plan should also include succession planning. There are countless options for transferring assets, shares and other ownership interests in a business. Planning in advance for death, divorce and retirement will help smooth these times of transition.

How do I find the time to set up a business plan?

Many Georgia owners are too busy with the day-to-day tasks of running their businesses to give adequate attention to their short-term and long-term planning needs. Do not put it off any longer. Establishing a business or succession plan is not as difficult or overwhelming as you may think if you have the right law firm at your side.

The attorneys at Moore Clarke DuVall & Rodgers, P.C., provide experienced and skilled legal assistance to businesses throughout Georgia from our four office locations in Atlanta, Albany, Valdosta and Savannah. We can guide you through the planning process, handling the details so you can concentrate on what you do best.