Running a business is similar to operating a machine. It is important to ensure all the pieces are coordinated and working properly. There are seven tools business owners must have in their tool box, which are:

1. Business-Needs Review

Everything starts by zeroing in on the factors that make a difference in your business — from your perspective on ownership, control and liquidity, to the key challenges and opportunities you may face. Understanding these factors can play an important role in addressing your lifestyle and personal goals.

2. Cash Management and Capital-Needs Review

The lifeblood of any business is cash, whether accessing capital or managing receivables and payables. We can help review the strategies you have in place and, if appropriate, share alternatives to consider.

3. Retirement and Benefits Assessment

Having the proper benefits plan is an important recruiting and retention tool.

4. Risk Review

It is important to understand and protect against unforeseen events that can jeopardize the value — or even the continuity — of your business. Identifying these risks is the first step in helping to protect against them.

5. Succession or Exit-Plan Assessment

Planning ahead is vital as you look toward the next chapter of your business’ history. Whether selling a business — in whole or in part—or passing one on, there are a number of different exit strategies that can be considered.

6. Family Wealth Plan

Your business is a critical element of your personal wealth plan. Ensure that decisions made for one complement the other so that personal wealth and business wealth work together to increase the value of both.

7. Key-Documents Organization

You want to be sure you, as well as your spouse and/or beneficiaries, can access all your critical documents (powers of attorney, shareholder agreements, insurance policies, wills, etc.) when they are needed.

Source: Morgan Stanley, The Business Owner Checklist.

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