There are entrepreneurs around the world who have spent many years building up their businesses who refuse to give up any degree of control over their operations. When you bear in mind the competitive nature of the online business arena today perhaps there is a justifiable reason why many entrepreneurs have difficulty trusting or finding someone who has the same level of passion for what they do. However, have you ever thought what might happen if for some reason you were unable to work?
Not being able to work maybe the doomsday scenario but if you have others such as a family depending on you, then you need to consider this issue at some point.
Business backup plan
How many entrepreneurs know in the back of their minds that they should have a written backup plan if they are unable to work for a considerable time in the future? Now the big question, how many have put in place a detailed and easy to follow instruction guide if somebody else needs to take over at short notice? The likelihood is this is one of the tasks that entrepreneurs like to “put off until tomorrow” but as we know, for many people tomorrow never actually arrives.
Over the years of being a freelance consultant and a sole trader ( through choice ), I’ve constructed and practised a “disaster recovery” plan that caters for most eventualities, whether it’s for a 3rd party to take control of certain operations, safeguard or migrate customers to a trusted destination. Or for other parts of the business for a person of confidence to take instruction on how to keep the business online and supported by the people involved are aware of what’s happened and have been given options available to them. It’s taken a long time to build a somewhat unique home office based business and good reputation that goes beyond the riggers of brick and mortar businesses and limited company snobbery. Still has the cover for both myself, family, clients and contracted freelancers, should I suddenly not be around tomorrow.
Trusting third parties
We all have friends, acquaintances and family members who we can fall back upon if we need assistance at any time but they are not always aware of savvy enough to operate a business, let alone an online business which could be totally alien to them. It is, therefore, imperative that you have in place a network of people you trust and people who are knowledgeable about the business and services you provide, having contacts which are at the top of their respected niches can be a weight off indeed. That isn’t something you should put off until tomorrow; this is not something which can be left unattended; it is vital to uphold customer relations and reputations should unforeseen circumstances be thrust upon you.
There are also professional companies who will retain detailed instructions to execute as and when required. Solicitors, accountants and cyber safety deposit boxes are all options you can consider.
Business as usual
Let’s be honest, if something happened to you tomorrow would those who depend on you, both family and work colleagues, still respect you if no backup plans were in place? It is bordering on criminal negligence not to have in place some backup plan to maintain the “business as usual” facade or indeed a “wind down” process of which it gives all parties involved from customers to employees enough time to access the situation. The online world is a ruthless business arena and as soon as your competitors sniff blood they will be circling like vultures. Even if you are only away from the office for a relatively short period this can open up opportunities for rumours, mistruths and downright lies; hard-earned reputations can be ruined.
It is imperative you protect your business, protect your reputation and ultimately ensure that as far as possible, it is business as usual.
Logins, bank accounts and payments
For any business to run smoothly in the event of unforeseen circumstances, those taking temporary control will need full login details, bank account information and a payment schedule to keep the business going. Obviously, this is information which should only be made available to trusted parties on a need-to-know basis. Can you imagine forgetting to pay your hosting fees due to “ oversight” and the effect this could have on your business? Your website could be down for a prolonged period; competitors will be vying for your customers and the reputation which may have taken you years to build can suddenly disappear overnight.
Insurances and safeguards
Many small businesses and entrepreneurs also operate under the hood of a sole trader for various reasons; there are many well-prepared insurances for sole traders to fit your exact requirements, covering your equipment, liability, indemnity and health/inability to work. Every sole trader with any accountability whether it’s to their clients or family should take the time and take out appropriate insurances, costs are often small and can protect your assets as a sole trader.
You should actively consider a disaster recovery plan including a schedule of actions required should you be unavailable for work for a short or a prolonged period. Never think this will not happen to you because many business leaders have done that in the past only to return to a business which is a shadow of its former self. The chances are all entrepreneurs will at some point require assistance and time away from the office for whatever reason. Do not leave your business open to failure