BOSTON (TheStreet) — Warren Buffett, secretly, has one for Berkshire Hathaway
The "it" in question is a business-succession plan, something a surprising number of companies, particularly small businesses, lack.
"At the end of the day, it's about where you want your business to go," says Beth Wood, assistant vice president of business owner advocacy at MassMutual. "So many business owners, especially small-business owners, worry about the day-to-day but forget about the long term and thinking about where they want their business to go in terms of ownership."
Wood relates a story told to her by a business acquaintance about how things can go wrong. In this instance, a man lost his wife to a car accident.
"After three weeks of grieving, he decided he needed to pick himself up," she says. "He walked into his wife's business, where her former partner was, sat down at a staff meeting and said, 'OK, I'm ready to work.' Because there was no buy-sell agreement, he inherited 50% of the company. His wife's former partner was shocked and, even though she didn't really care for the gentleman, found herself in the position of having a new de facto partner."