No one likes to think about things going wrong. Negative thinking can lead to worry and stress, and nobody wants that. But it doesn’t have to take a major disaster to knock your business off track, a series of unfortunate or unexpected events can have the same effect.
For solopreneurs and small businesses the risks are higher. Staff leaving or having time off through illness can cause the whole business to suffer. A bad review on the internet can lose lots of sales, and a sudden rush of orders can leave you unable to meet customer demand.
So what can you do?
Work out what the main risks are to your company. If you are a solopreneur or freelancer these could include someone falling ill and you needing to care for them, or falling ill yourself. Consider where you work. What would happen if your equipment broke or was stolen? What would happen to your deadlines if there was a power cut?
Make a list of essential tasks that need to continue to keep your company running. If you have a team, make sure everyone knows everyone else’s roles and responsibilities so nothing gets missed during staff absence. Designate certain people to take over essential tasks like paying bills and processing orders.
For every important task create a step by step guide that is easy for another person to follow. Ensure they know where to find important passwords and documents so that they can keep things running smoothly.
Make sure you are fully insured against loss or damage to your essential work equipment. If you work from home check your home insurance policy to make sure you are properly covered.
Keep backups of all your essential information, have paperwork scanned and saved securely off site. Automate systems such as data backups so that it is always up to date.
If you have a blog, schedule a few months worth of posts in advance and set them to synchronise automatically with your social media accounts. This way, if you cannot update your blog for a while, you already have something in place and don’t risk losing your audience. Arrange for someone to respond to comments on your behalf to keep engagement going.
Being overrun with work doesn’t sound like a disaster. But having a huge rush of orders may leave you financially or physically unable to fulfil them. Leaving you with poor customer reviews or a bad reputation.
Keep some money in a savings account for emergencies and talk to your bank about an overdraft. If you suddenly need to buy in more supplies this should be enough to keep you afloat.
If you don’t have a team to take on extra jobs during busy times, consider getting help from freelancers. Hiring a Virtual Assistant, Writer or Bookkeeper can free up your time so that you can keep your customers happy.
Who, where and when.
Make sure they have the list of essential tasks along with the contact details of every member of your team. Include contact information of freelancers you use and other businesses or friends that may be able to help you out.
Problems can take us by surprise, and it’s impossible to foresee everything that may happen. But by knowing what needs to be done in a crisis to keep your business going, you will be as prepared as you can be. Don’t wait until business is suffering before implementing your plan. The sooner problems are dealt with the easier it is to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward.