how to leave entrepreneurial legacy leadership

How to Start Planning Your Entrepreneurial Legacy

Entrepreneurs take their lives into their own hands every day. They might be starving one minute and feasting the next, but they have a direct control over their destiny that most people will never experience.

As a business owner myself, I know what it’s like to weather the ups and downs of life as an entrepreneur—and how the everyday tasks tend to push the big problems into the “tomorrow” pile. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are so busy running the company that the big questions are left unanswered, including: “What sort of legacy am I leaving behind?”

The good news is that you have as much control over your business legacy as you do over your day-to-day operations. But if you want to be known and remembered (or even revered) after your retirement, you’ll need to start planning your entrepreneurial legacy as soon as possible.

What Is An Entrepreneurial Legacy?

There is no single definition of entrepreneurial legacy set in stone. Broadly speaking, your business legacy is how you’ll be remembered professionally by your peers, successors, and the wider world. This includes your successes, reputation, image, mistakes, and persona you project to your clients and customers.

So, what constitutes a worthy entrepreneurial legacy? It’s ultimately up to you. The one thing all business leaders have in common is that they are consistently two steps ahead. If you want your professional reputation to be a beacon for others, you must start taking your first steps now.

8 Steps to Build a Better Business Legacy

Now that your business is up and running, you should take the time to think beyond short-term profit and consider how to create lasting value. Whether you’re thinking about formulating your exit strategy or want to make your next fiscal year the best yet, here are some actionable ways to preserve your legacy.

1. Define Your Values and Mission

Clarify what matters most to you as an entrepreneur. Why did you get into this business in the first place? What do you stand for? What kind of impact do you want to make? A clear sense of purpose guides your everyday actions to help you make future decisions more easily. 

2. Use People-Centric Thinking

Your legacy rests solely on the way others feel about you. Have you cultivated strong relationships with customers, stakeholders, and employees? Pay close attention to the way your business contacts interact with you. Have you listened to their concerns? What could you do to better serve them?

3. Develop Your Leadership Skills

As your business grows, your ability to lead effectively becomes increasingly important.  Invest in developing crucial skills such as communication, decision-making, team building, and emotional intelligence.

Legacy leadership isn’t just about being the boss; it’s about being a person that people trust and want to follow. Think about the leaders you admire. Can you implement their lessons and habits into your daily work life?

Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for new ways to disrupt the norm. Sharing your unique perspective can help establish you as a thought leader in your industry, allowing you to reach a bigger audience. As your followers grow, their support positions you at the head of the table, ready to share new ideas and steer the conversation.

4. Empower Others

Success doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Build a team of talented individuals and give them the tools they need to thrive. Delegate responsibilities, provide mentorship and support, and create opportunities for growth and development within your organization. Good ideas can come from anywhere, so foster a culture of innovation. 

5. Document Your Journey

Share your experiences—both successes and failures—with others. How you respond to a failure often says more about your character than how you sustain success. By documenting your journey, you can inspire and educate future generations of entrepreneurs. This could be through writing books or articles, speaking at events, or mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.

Storytelling is especially important in multigenerational family businesses. In fact, developing an entrepreneurial mindset in family members has been shown to increase financial and social value across generations. A strong entrepreneurial narrative can leverage the next generation’s resources and capabilities, keep you ahead of trends, or even create new income streams. 

6. Examine Your Social Impact

The value of your business is more than just numbers. Think beyond financial success and consider how your business can create social or environmental value. This could involve initiatives such as sustainable practices, community engagement programs, or partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

7. Give Back

Find ways to give back to the community that has supported your business. This could involve volunteering your time, donating resources, or using your expertise to help address social challenges. If you set up a charitable trust in your name as part of your business owner’s estate plan, you could continue to make a positive impact after your passing.

8. Plan for Succession Early

Eventually, you’ll need to think about the future of your company beyond your own involvement. Develop a business succession plan to ensure that your entrepreneurial legacy continues to thrive even after you’ve moved on.

Start Planning Your Entrepreneurial Legacy Today

If you are serious about creating a professional legacy that will live on long after you’re gone, we can help. A.J. Yolofsky is your trusted legal advisor, guiding you through difficult decisions and helping you protect your life’s work. Email us at today or schedule a 15-minute call to learn how we can help.