What To Do Before The Solids Hit The Fan
Every business, and more importantly every business owner, has times in their life when the personal has to take priority over the business in a major way. It may be a really positive thing like getting married or the arrival of a new baby. More often than not, it is not a fun amazing experience. A serious illness, needing to take care of the sick child or an ageing relative for an extended period of time, the breakup of a relationship or the death of someone close to you.
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CONTINGENCY PLANNING
How you handle this type of business interruption can be the difference between sleepless nights and stress and, watching your business disappear before your eyes as well as the sleepless nights and stress.
The positive things in our lives we can generally plan for. Letting our existing clients know you’re going to be away getting married and on a dream honeymoon is a fun thing to do. The arrival of a new baby, in particular for husband and wife teams in the business, while slightly harder to predict the date, everyone is very accommodating if you keep them in the loop.
The negative are much harder to predict and therefore tougher to plan for, which is why business interruption contingency planning is so important. Here are some thoughts on how to minimise the risk to your business:
- have processes and systems in place which allow your team to pick up the majority of your work load;
- keep your existing clients apprised of the situation and who will handle their project in your absence;
- select one team member to act as the point of communication with you;
- potential clients where you are in the middle of the sales process, again communicate with them about the situation and let them know who will be handling their proposal or if you handle all the sales find out if an extension in discussions is possible. Be fully prepared that you may be forced out of the running for this project but keep lines of communication open for future work if possible; and
- build connections with businesses similar to yours that you would be willing to refer work to. This may be a freelancer or subcontractor who can pick up and finish projects that are part completed. It is important that this is a reciprocal relationship so that you can cover them if necessary.
There will be a negative impact on your income, almost certainly, so try and have a buffer or reserve of at least two months wages and overhead expenses tucked away in a savings account. I wouldn’t recommend a fixed term deposit like a GIC, because although these yield higher returns, they are less accessible in an emergency.
Some Things Are Replaceable and Some Are Not
The most important thing is to look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, fresh air and breaks, however short, are all vital. Allowing yourself to become burnt out, depressed and overstressed you will make you of little use to your family, friends, employees and clients.
It is always possible to pick up new clients and rebuild your business when the personal emergency is over.