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The entrepreneur's 'must do' list

Everyone has a "bottom left hand drawer" of sorts. You know what I mean, don't you? It's that special place where we put things that we need to do "one day.

Everyone has a "bottom left hand drawer" of sorts. You know what I mean, don't you? It's that special place where we put things that we need to do "one day."

The older we get though, the quicker time flies and the more likely we are to suffer from our own procrastination.

In reviewing our "Entrepreneur Checklist" the other day, I began to realize how many people are truly flying without a net.

Business owners are especially vulnerable as they often do not have the extensive benefits of their friends working for large corporations or government. Here's my top 10 list you should consider if you own a business:

1.Business &Marketing plans Businesses don't plan to fail, but many fail to plan. Take some serious time to work "on" your business before you work in it.

2. Business Coach - Everyone needs to be accountable to someone. Great athletes and CEOs work with great coaches. Take the hint.

3. Buy/Sell Agreement - clearly spells out the transition of an owner's interests in event of disability, death, disagreement or retirement.

4. Life Insurance - allows surviving business partners/shareholders to buy the business from a deceased owner's heirs.

5. Business Overhead Expense (BOE) and Disability Income (DI) Insurance - when a business owner becomes seriously sick or hurt the lease, utilities, salaries and other operating costs still need to be paid. BOE coverage will pay these expenses while the owner is recovering, or will allow for an orderly transition or winding up of the affairs of the business if the owner is not likely to return. DI coverage assures the owner's personal income continues.

6. Critical Illness Insurance - Cancer, heart disease, stroke and many other critical illnesses are largely survivable today, but take an expensive toll on families and businesses. This coverage relieves financial worry, allowing better focus on recovery.

7. Key person coverage - the above coverages can be effectively used to protect the business against the disability, illness or death of a key employee.

8. Property and casualty insurance - We've all suffered from property loss, damage and mistakes. Make sure your most valuable assets and liabilities are well covered.

9. Employee Benefits Plan - employees are a business's most valuable asset and will move to the business providing a better deal for them and their families.

10. Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) - Most business owners are paying for their families' dental and health expenses with after-tax dollars. A PHSP is a very inexpensive way to legally deduct these expenses. Successful entrepreneurs take every measure they can to surround themselves with great advisors and use every tool they can to both build a competitive edge and protect against catastrophe.

Richard Vetter, BA, CFP, CLU, ChFC. is a certified financial planner and owner of WealthSmart Financial Group in Richmond.