If there is anything our crisis with COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that the unexpected could happen at any time.
Although this may be a morbid topic, it’s critical to prepare your business in case of emergency.
The first step
First, consider WHO you’re going to ask to ensure these tasks get done in the event of serious injury, illness, or death. I’m going to call them your DISASTER BUDDY. For example, I know that my mom would be distraught if anything happened to me and would not be a reliable person to make sure items for my business get done. As another example, my partner would likely be very upset, busy, OR might also be injured if it were something like a car accident since we spend much of our time together.
So, who should my disaster buddy be?
You need choose someone who is likely to know quickly if something happens to you, and who will have a level enough head to think about your business in that difficult time. You may even want to designated MULTIPLE people, just in case. I have landed on designating my best friend AND a business friend who will each have access to my directions document.
Once you’ve chosen the person or people you trust with your business contingency plan, it’s time to WRITE THE CONTINGENCY PLAN! This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just open up a Google Doc and start typing!
Consider the following:
A list of emergency vendor contacts including email & phone numbers (think of people who perform your same craft in a similar style so that your short term clients aren't left hanging!). The more you can include, the better!
Consider how replacement vendors should be paid if they take over for you! Write out guidance and provide information for your disaster buddy on how to access the funds.
A step-by-step list of what your designated contact should do if you are incapacitated! Include instructions on where to find client information!
Studio management system information including the website link to log in, your username, your password, and step-by-step instructions on where to click to find the client's information (AKA how do people access key information in Dubsado)
How to access contact information, timelines, contracts, questionnaires, etc.
Cell phone PIN
Where to find other important business documents, whether online or hard copy
Tax account information including your EIN, sales tax ID, etc.
Your COMPUTER password. You know, the page that will stop them from getting to any of your business information even if you have everything else spelled out.
Other key passwords (email, CRM, bank information, etc.). If you using something like LastPass, (which I highly recommend for your own security,) then you only have to give them the password TO LastPass, and then they'll be able to find everything they need.
Website/blog information, including your username & password
Domain registration account & password
Accountant contact information including email & phone numbers
Payment processor login information
Online gallery login information
Online storage and cloud backup account information
Other Important team member contact information including email – for example, your private photo editor
How to access your archives for clients if needed
Write a list of your monthly/annual paid subscriptions. Keep this up to date!
Don’t forget the following instructions for your disaster buddy:
Look for jobs in progress or due within one month and contact those clients first
Stop monthly/annual subscriptions
Pay credit card for charges that happened before those subscriptions are stopped
Monitor emails in case additional leads or jobs come in that were missed in the CRM (since they won’t be an expert like you)
Do not wait another day!
Get protected. Open up that google doc and start typing.