Five-year plan

February 22, 2013 By    

One Saturday afternoon, I was sitting on our front porch thinking about a five-year plan for our business. At the time, we had four teenagers at home, so I started to wonder where they might be in five years. The first thing that came to mind was, “They don’t know how to cook!” They will be out on their own but won’t know how to prepare a meal. My wife and I decided to test them. We gave each of them $20 to buy, prepare and serve a meal for our family. They would be allowed to keep the change. I really expected our son to buy a box of Cheerios and pocket the change, but he didn’t. Each week, one of the kids would prepare their meal for the rest of us. They all did a great job and were very proud of their accomplishment. Apparently, they already knew how to cook from watching and working with their mother over the years. Fathers always seem to be the last to know.

In the same way, we need to consider where our business will be in five years. With your company in mind, write each employee’s age on a piece of paper and then add five years to it. You may be surprised. I was. Now is the time to start planning for replacements so that your future employees will be in the pipeline and ready to go to work when the need arises. Do I need to point out that you will be five years older too? Now is the time to start planning.

Ken Albrecht is president of Reliable Propane in Clarence Center, N.Y. Visit

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