Your Business’ Most Important Asset Isn’t What You Think

By Adam Eisenberg

You know the Old Cliche? It’s Misleading!

You know the old cliché – “Our people are our company’s most important asset!” As a business owner, you’ve probably said this very thing to your people, to your customers, to the media. And I’m sure you say it with conviction and compassion…and you should. The people that work for you are very important. It’s what makes you a business that is able to deliver against your mission.

But I’m sorry to say that even if conveyed with the most sincere tone and honest speak you can muster, your people are not your most important asset. You are!

Look, it’s not selfish. It’s not arrogant. And I don’t condone you bringing your employees together to tell them that all your previous rhetoric about them being the most important thing to your company was bullsh*t – “It’s actually me that’s most important, your owner and boss!” But it is true. You are the most important asset to your business, and therefore you need to protect your company from, frankly, your death or disability.

As a Business Owner, What If I Die or Become Disabled

It’s never pleasant to talk this way, but as an insurance expert, it’s my job to have the tough conversations with clients. If you own your business and have employees working for you, then you are putting your employees at risk if you aren’t protected should you die or become disabled. Your company will dissolve. Your people will be out of work and out of a paycheck. Your vendors will be left holding the bag. And your customers now have no one to go to with questions or problems.

Should you die, and you aren’t protected, you will create a domino effect that will leave your legacy with a big blemish. And that’s not something you want spoken about during your eulogy.  Should a disability occur, how will your business sustain if you are not there to manage it?

“Jim was a good guy, but he left everyone in and around his company in shambles.”

Life Insurance for Key Business Leadership

I work with business owners everyday helping them find financial solutions that make their companies more attractive and successful. And one of the most important solutions I recommend to these business owners is that the company purchase a life insurance and/or disability insurance policy for the owners of the business.

The Right Way to Do It – A Case Study

Here’s a story of a small business client of mine that describes precisely why your company should own a life insurance policy in your name (the business owner). This is the story of two restaurateurs that together owned a restaurant. I worked to make sure the company owned insurance policies on each of them – and thank goodness we did that, because here’s what happened:

The two owners were 50/50 partners from the day the restaurant opened in 1996. But one day, one of the partners died suddenly. Now, if the company didn’t own insurance on each of them, then the owner who was still alive would have been in a tough situation. He would either need to buy out the deceased owner’s share of the business with his own money, find a suitor (or suitors) that would buy out the deceased’s share, or simply close the doors of his successful business.

But because the company was the beneficiary of insurance policies on both owners, when the one died, his insurance policy made it possible for the living owner to buy out his partner without distressing his own financial security. The business lived on – with perhaps a hole in its heart – but successfully nonetheless.

So take a look in the mirror, and tell yourself – not your employees – that you’re the most important asset to your business. Then have the company protect you with a life insurance policy in your name. Your people, vendors and customers will thank you for it, because your legacy as the business owner will live on.