What happens to your business if anything happens to you? What do you do in case of emergency?
Are you a small business owner who is responsible for your business’ operations, development, marketing, customer service, finances, etc… What happens to your business in case something happens to you?
If you have employees, you most likely have general policies and procedures in place; you might have those even if you are flying solo. But you know that your employees cannot handle everything – which makes the situation even worse if you don’t have any… Here are some of the tips I generated when I came across a forum discussion on this topic:
1. Put together a document that contains all your access information to various (or the most important) accounts, and save it to a save place. Then put together a list of your clients, how to contact them, and a step-by-step guide of the most important procedures. Your family or a trusted source should have an access to this information so they can notify your clients and react accordingly.
2. Put a backup in place – as a backup I mean a fellow professional who is verse in your field. A few months ago I met a CPA who was in a very bad car accident and was tied to a hospital bed for weeks. He was fortunate enough that a CPA from a different business offered to take care on his clients for the time being. If you can find a backup in advance, you have time to train the person, sign all applicable agreements (non-compete, non-solicitation, privacy agreement, etc) and even introduce the person to your clients. Perhaps you can even train your clients on the “emergency procedures”.
3. Devise standard operating procedures for your business as well as for your clients. That way, your backup can follow them and handle projects on your behalf when/if needed.
4. When you operate your own business, you know exactly where documents and templates are saved, what a status of any given project is, etc. even though you might not be utilizing any specific Project Management Tools. But implementing them has its advantages. Not only can project management tools make your job easier, but they allow the person stepping in for you to see exactly how things stand, whose projects are open, their status, who is responsible for what (if more than one person works on a project).
Now, if you work with a Virtual Business Manager or a Virtual Assistant, she or he can execute these steps, too – depending on your profession and her/his expertise. If you are still thinking about how to bring the VBM or VA on board, take a look at How to Delegate Your Work to Virtual Business Manager/Virtual Assistant.
I realize that it’s easy to dismiss the idea of “what if something happens to me” but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As always, I am curious what systems have you put in place and if you ever needed them? What happened when you didn’t have a plan B? Share your experience or advice here or on my Facebook Page.
*** Please note that this is not a legal advice and that you should turn to your legal representatives for one ***