Last month, a very dear friend had a sudden and major medical emergency. She had a major brain aneurysm while at lunch with her daughter. She was put on a helicopter and headed to a surgeon at the hospital located the next county over. This was a life or death situation for the next 30 days. In the blink of an eye, priorities can shift. Even today, her focus (as well as her husband’s) is on her healing and not over exerting herself. She is an entrepreneur and her personal activity in her business was put on hold for 30+ days because she was healing in a hospital bed 40 minutes away from home. Under her surgeons warnings she couldn’t even talk about business for fear of another aneurysm. This got me thinking about my business and the need for an emergency plan.
Do you have a business emergency plan: a plan that would allow someone else to take over your business while you couldn’t be there? A plan that would allow for someone else like your spouse or another loved one to take care of the business while you were in a hospital or otherwise unable? Or are you realizing that an assistant or a good friend who knew a small bit about your business might not know enough to care for it while you were on life support. These are serious things to have to think about but also very important in the end.
For myself, I started to create a list of everything someone would need to effectively keep my business operational until I could return (or take it over if I couldn’t). Clearly, no one could coach my clients while I was gone. However, they could communicate on my behalf and do the necessary administrative tasks to keep my business afloat so that I still had a business to return to.
Here is my list of the basic documents and resources someone would need to support my business while I could not.
1. List of Passwords
The first thing my business surrogate would need is a list of all my passwords, both for business and personal in some cases. They would need to familiarize themselves with where all of my business information and resources are located. For me, my business surrogate would most likely be my husband. Does he know where to find my passwords? The answer is yes now, but before this medical emergency of my friend I hadn’t updated my master list to include all of my business passwords. It needed updating and consistent tweaking.
2. Login Information
When my friend was in the hospital, the easiest way for her husband to communicate with her “circle” was via Facebook. This was the avenue that reached most of the people in her life. In order to effectively take over the business and its communication channels, your surrogate would need to have access to a list of all of the websites, programs and software login credentials you actively use in business. Also, they need to know the best channel of communication to communicate to your clients or customers. For me I maintain a
For me I maintain a CRM hosted on the web with an active email list, my surrogate would need access to this list, in addition to Facebook or whichever social outlet I use most for my business. They need to know which to use and why, for what purposes. At the very least, access to your email accounts and calendar to cancel your appointments are essential.
3. Your List of Contacts and Online Friends
When my friend was in the hospital healing, different people in her life took over different aspects of her business so that her husband could also focus on her and his own self-care. He suddenly needed a list of her contacts. For most of us, this can be easily acquired via our cell phones. So my question to myself was: does my surrogate have access to all my contacts (both business and personal) and would they know how to access the needed information? This got me thinking about even the emails and numbers I have memorized…I now have them all in my contacts. Even with my bookings and appointments I now include their number and email address just for this very reason.
4. Bank Account and Financial Information
Your surrogate may need to have the contact information for your bank, or at the very least access to the business credit card. I personally do not carry my business credit card or checkbook with me unless I am using it for the day. So, for me, my husband would need to know where I keep those things in my home office. If you have an office outside of the home, is there a backup copy of the key to gain access to your office when needed.
5. Important Business Documents (registration, permits, and/or licenses)
Do you have a business permit or license? Your surrogate may need to have access to those documents or at least know where they are located.
6. Website Hosting and Login Information
For me and most of my clients, we run location independent online businesses. Does your surrogate have access to your website so that they can update your homepage or blog? Or, do they have your hosting information so they could try to get your site updated by someone else? For me, I use WordPress. My surrogate would need the login information (and maybe a brief tutorial) so they could update the site. Almost my entire business is run on my site. So just with this information alone they could take over at least half of my business. If you have a different website set-up, could your surrogate access this resource?
7. Other Needed Information
A Copy of your Will or Trust
Proof of Ownership (Business) and Assets
Health and Life Insurance Policies
Durable Health Forms
So it all comes down to this:
Do you have your business systems in place if a major crisis were to happen? Would you be prepared to have a surrogate effectively take over your business and its needs? If you do is all of the necessary information in a single location that is simple and stress-free to access in an emergency with easy to read and understand instructions? For myself who thrives off of systems, being prepared and being location independent, I still saw major gaps within my systems and I needed to cover all of this with my husband in order to be completely at ease. Knowing that the business I work hard to grow and run would not crash and burn in my absence provided comfort for me and my husband.
What systems or needs would you add to my list? What did I miss? Please share them in the comments below and let’s help each other have an emergency backup plan for our growing empires.