Typhoons & Contingency Planning Founders Forum Recap

Founders Forum is an opportunity for founders to take the stage and share their stories and expertise. If you leave one of these monthly events with some new connections and one piece of immediately applicable advice for your business (or life), then we call it a success!

We launched our 2024 Founders Forum series with Doug Kim of Kim, Lahey, & Killough Law Firm.

Doug didn’t just attend as one of the highest-rated lawyers in South Carolina; he was also present as a founder. His professional journey began in computer programming and software engineering, providing him with a strong tech background. Subsequently, Doug pursued law school, creating a distinctive skill set that encompasses both legal expertise in patent writing and a deep understanding of the technology being patented. This unique combination positioned him as one of the early pioneers in the legal landscape of patenting software.

After working for a large law firm and seeing many of the inefficiencies, he thought to himself: “There has to be a better way.” (Funny, we hear this a lot…) In 2018, he decided to set out on his own and quickly brought on a partner forming a boutique law firm servicing the manufacturing, software, energy, finance, hospitality, tourism, and technology industries. Their key practice areas include intellectual property, business and commercial litigation, mergers and acquisitions, cybersecurity, and more.

Kim, Lahey, and Killough takes a client-centric approach, focusing on how to use technology to not only make their business run more efficiently but to protect their most important assets. Which transitions nicely into the topic for conversation – contingency planning!

Let’s go back to last spring. Doug flew to Micronesia via Guam with a group of scuba divers from Greenville, SC. You may remember hearing about this story. What was supposed to be just over a week turned into a month-long “vacation.” (In all honesty, it sounds like it was for Doug and their friends as although Guam was hit directly, not letting anyone leave the area, their little island was still sunshine and scuba.)

Doug admits that this trip was a test to see how his office and team would handle him being gone (and out of touch) for a length of time but no one expected it to be this long. For the first few days, the team back home was able to push things off but when two days become two weeks, they had to be able to keep moving forward.

What would happen to your company if you were unexpectedly out of touch and out of reach for an unexpected length of time? Maybe it’s easier to ask, are you able to step away for a vacation to refresh and rejuvenate yourself? (We all know the burnout statistics with entrepreneurs!)

Kamber Parker, of The Yo ProKnow attended and after the event remarked, “It hit me how many things I am the only one that can do on my team.” One of Doug’s main tips was to make sure your team is cross-trained. And, if you’re a solopreneur have a trusted friend that is able to help. Just like you have a neighbor or friend with a spare key to your house for emergencies, your company needs that spare key holder. In essence, be prepared. Know what the most important assets, systems, etc. are and make sure there is a plan in place to protect them. Not sure how to determine what’s important? Think about it in terms of how closely related it is to your income.

Some additional suggestions included:

  • Have data recovery in place: copies and backups, including one offsite
  • Be geographically untethered
  • Implement measures to safeguard property and funds
  • Make sure your agreements are in order
  • Protect your IP
  • Have duplicate vendors in the case that one goes down
  • Have an incident response team, both internal and external
  • Insurance!

If you could take away the biggest piece of advice, it’s have a plan (and share it with the appropriate people to put it in action). It is important for business owners to be able to take a step away from their businesses to recharge AND things happen all.the.time. So, have a plan to keep things moving forward even if you, the founder, isn’t available to implement.

“A bad plan is better than no plan, and the most important quality of any plan is the flexibility to change.” – Judson L Moore, Exponential Happiness: How to identify and pursue life goals starting at a young age

Don’t miss February’s Founders Forum; Feb. 13 at 3:30pm @ Atlas Local!