Have you ever been ill? I mean, so ill that you can’t do your job?

I had a couple of experiences when I could not do my work. The first was due to stress and I took three months to recover sufficiently to return to work. I was employed by WHSmith at the time, so they arranged for the store that I was managing to continue operating.

The second occasion was a severe allergy problem. By then, I was self-employed and running my own store. Apart from my wife there was no safety net, so I had to work through the pain until a solution to my allergy was found. I had one weekend when I just had to stop – my body said it had had enough.

This caused a big problem as I did the early mornings preparing the newspapers for delivery and sale. My wife and elder daughter dealt with the jobs needed and we got through that weekend, but it did raise important questions about my management style. Had I made myself too important to the continuation of my business?

That weekend was more than 20 years ago. With the development of the internet, operating a business is now far more complicated than it was then.

The computerisation of business demands passwords, pin numbers and other log ins to protect and use the programs, websites and apps. Then there are your bank accounts, pensions and insurance policies that are now online.

If you, as owner and principal of the business, became seriously ill and unable to work for a day or much longer is there a back-up plan in place? Could your spouse or partner easily take over your role and have access to all the software programs that make your business work? Most importantly would they have authority to deal with your bank?

Apart from having a safe system for all the log in details for your business software you should consider making a lasting power of attorney.

If you became incapacitated, even for a short period, would your business survive?

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