In the past year, all of us have had to confront huge problems—credit crunches and massive financial uncertainty—that we did not create. Now, virtually every business owner I speak to tells me they are preparing for another unforeseen macro-economic event.

The topic of our new research paper—how to properly plan for unknown events between you and your partner(s)—falls into the same category. Only in this case, the trouble begins at home.

Let me sum up this research for you in one simple statement: most business owners are ill-prepared for unexpected events between themselves and their partners. This shouldn't be too surprising. When one is working towards growth everyday and putting out fires all the time, it's hard to find room for things that haven't yet happened.

My advice? Find the room. Because an unexpected event—a partner's divorce, an accident or illness, even the death of a key colleague—can lay asunder years of hard work. We looked to Russ Alan Prince and Hannah Shaw Grove, our friends who always have an ear pointed in the direction of business owners, for guidance on this serious topic. Their research shows us both the worst and best practices in this crucial area of business emergency preparedness.

When you read this research, don't just get scared. Act. As the old saying goes, the best time to plant an Oak Tree was 30 years ago. The second best time is today.

Like all emergency planning, we hope you never have to confront the challenges that set up the solutions outlined in this paper. But inevitably, some of you will. When that happens, be prepared.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Inc. Business Owners Council will be holding an event on "Partnership Agreements" on Nov. 17 and 18 in Greenwich, CT, New York City, and Norther New Jersey. For more information, click here.