Entrepreneur means you are your business. The harsh reality of life is that at some point a personal crisis will arise that will impact your ability to conduct business as usual. When you least expect it, a personal crisis can implode and create a business crisis. You run your business alone, therefore there isn’t someone that can step in to fill your shoes. It’s time for you to consider a backup plan to reduce the collateral damage done to your business if an emergency arises. If the unexpected happens tomorrow you need to be prepared to answer these questions:
Who can step into your shoes if a personal crisis arises?
What information will others need access to?
Do you have an action plan that can be implemented?
Are your processes and procedures documented?
Since you’re in charge of the day-to-day life of your business, it can be hard to imagine handing daily tasks off to someone else. After all, you’ve probably been in charge of everything for your business 100% of the time since you started it. When a crisis arises, your business is the last thing on your mind. So while your mind is clear you need to prepare for the unexpected. The last thing you want is for a personal crises to cause a domino effect that becomes a business crisis. So here are a few things you can do to be prepared for the unexpected.
Document your standard processes and procedures
The best time to document a process is when you have a clear mind. Having systems in place will help keep your business running when you are not available. Documenting your processes and procedures will also help you streamline which increases consistency and be efficiency. This can be done for handling e-mails, blog posts and comments, project management, social media, and any other tasks related to running your business. Implementing these systems prior to an emergency will allow you to work consistently, be more organized and get more clients since you aren’t worrying about what step comes next.
Designate one point of contact
You don’t want to have to call a list of people to ask for help while dealing with a personal crisis. Having one point of contact enables you to make one phone call and they can step in. While they can’t do everything that you would do, they can notify your clients of the situation, postpone your meetings and respond to e-mails as needed according to your business continuity plan.
Create a business continuity plan
Your plan should include your company information, your brand information, all of your teammates and their roles, the key business functions you need to get operating as quickly as possible and the resources you’ll need to do so. Also be sure to explain the immediate actions to be taken in your absence including notifying your clients. Arrange the plan in the form of checklists to make sure that key steps are followed. Decide if you want to include key information such as bank account information and account passwords. Don’t forget to keep your plan updated!
Test your business continuity plan
Once your continuity plan is in place, test it with your main point of contact to see how well it’s likely to perform in the event of an emergency. Think about the things that would cause the most disruption and that are most likely to happen to your business. Then make sure that your plan covers each of the risks. Make some telephone calls to check that the key contacts and phone numbers that you have given are correct.
As entrepreneurs our tendency is to attempt to be superhuman. But when an emergency arises we have to have good support inside and outside of our business. Letting others help you can be hard, but being prepared can help ease the burden and allows you to focus on your personal crisis until you can return to your business.
Have you had to keep your business running while dealing with a personal crisis? How did you get through it?
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