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Emergency Planning for Entrepreneurs

October 24, 2007 | Notes From Beth, Planning | Beth Schneider-Wachner

By Beth Schneider

Think back to when you were a kid. How many times did you quickly get in a single file line and calmly follow your teacher out the door during a fire drill? It got so routine, the drills just seemed silly, right? But think about, had the bell been an actual fire, you knew exactly what to do without thinking.
It's easy to pretend that nothing bad will ever happen. We'd all like the think that emergencies, illness and accidents will only happen to someone else.
But what would happen to your business if you, someone you love or one of your team members was suddenly out of commission?
Would your clients go away? Your marketing efforts stop? Your cash flow wither up and die?
Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm sick, sad and stressed out, I don't tend to do my best thinking. The idea is to be prepared and ready BEFORE you need that emergency plan so that it just happens without thinking. Here's how to get started.

Figure out who would need to be contacted.
If you were suddenly out of commission, who would need to know? People like team members, clients, vendors, leads.
Have a communications plan. Determine who your communication lead is. Maybe a VA, a manager, maybe even a friend or relative depending on the size of your business. But be sure to choose someone that won't be emotionally involved with your emergency. For instance, if you fell ill, your husband probably wouldn't be the best choice because he'd be off taking care of you.
For me, it my communication lead is my coordinator, Tasha. When ever any thing happens she is the first person I call. I call her and she does the rest.

Determine what you want your communication lead to do.
When you do make that emergency call, what do you want your communication lead to do? Reschedule clients? Ship product? Reschedule speaking engagements? Monitor email? Complete a project? Pay bills?
Here's how you determine what you need to do. Pretend that you have just won an all expense, first class, once in a life-time trip. The only catch is you have to leave tomorrow and you can't take your lap top with you. Make a list of all the things that would need to happen immediately or be delegated so that you could get on that plane. Those are your emergency items.

Define how emergency items are handled.
Now that you know who will handle the items and what they are supposed to handle, you have to set up your lead to actually get to the information they need. Here's where your systems really come into play. Lets say, one of the items on your list is to reschedule appointments. How will your communication lead access your appointments? Are they on a calendar that only you have access to? How will they get the phone numbers of the people to call? For me, I use an online tool that syncs my calendar and contacts. Tasha just has to log in and she can see all my appointments, who they are with and she can access their phone number and email address. All without me lifting a finger. While I'm a big fan of online tools, this particular item could be solved by simply giving someone you trust a key to your office and a quick tour of your computer so they would know where to look for your calendar and contacts.
So now go through your list of emergency items and figure out how the information will be accessed.

The idea is to simply know what to do should something happen BEFORE it's an issue.

© 2007 Beth Schneider.
Want to reprint this article? Feel free as long as you include the following: "Beth Schneider, Chief Infopreneur of Process Prodigy, is a business process consultant who helps solo-entrepreneurs, small business owners and network marketers who want to systemize their business to increase profits, increase productivity and grow their business without having to give up the family oriented, flexible, balanced lifestyle they desire. Beth works one-on-one with her clients, offers home study courses, and teleclass boot camps. For more information visit www.ProcessProdigy.com and sign up for your FREE 5-Step Process Starter Kit and FREE Process Tips. Also, visit Process Prodigy's family sites www.YourBusinessMachineBasics.com and www.MadeItToAMillion.com


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