It’s a morbid thought: You die or are suddenly incapacitated. Or your systems are hacked, allowing confidential information about your clients to leak to—who knows where. Maybe there’s a natural disaster in your area, making it impossible for you to access your computer.
We feel like Wonder Woman because of our amazing powers to run a business empire with one hand tied behind our backs. I hate to break it to you: While you’re pretty amazing, you can’t ward off disaster. But you can be prepared for it.
You’re in business because you love what you do, and you have a special connection to your audience and your clients. You care about them and their businesses. And if something happened to you or your business, it might hurt their business too. Their project would never come to fruition or the notes on their business would disappear. So plan ahead and give disaster a plan of action.
I don’t care if you have a brick-and-mortar business or operate entirely online, work with a team of employees and contractors or juggle your biz as a side hustle to a day job. You have a liability in your business and you need to cover your butt. End of story.
Every business needs to have insurance; it’s the amount of coverage that’s negotiable. Think about worst-case scenarios, like your payment system is hacked, releasing your customers’ credit card information to cyber-nowhere. Or a website hack that puts you out of business for the next month. Or you’re in an accident that leaves you incapacitated and unable to work. It happens, and it isn’t pretty when it does. Insurance can cover both loss of work and general liability, and it’s a must for everyone. Think you’re immune to cyber-attack because your business is small, or you have iron-clad security? Think again. Read more about why you need cyber liability insurance.
Set Up Autodraft.
Sometimes crap hits the fan, but try telling that to the people who want to get paid. Set up autodraft on all your regular bills, so no matter where you are and what you’re doing you’re on time with those bills.
Find a Trusted Confidant.
It’s hard to think about: your death. Or being incapacitated. But life goes on for others, and you may hold essential information on your clients’ businesses. Have a plan of action in the event someone else needs to reach out to your clients. Your significant other, business partner or attorney should know where you keep your passwords so they can access your business email, bank accounts and client information. They should also have access to a set of directions, should they need them: who to email, what information to give out, what to tell clients, etc.
You can even take this one step further and make arrangements with someone in your industry who could take over projects for you, if you’re no longer able. Kind of like willing your business or your client base to a business BFF.
It’s not fun, thinking about what might happen in an emergency situation. But having a plan in place protects you and your clients far beyond one catastrophe. You’ll save yourself, your loved ones and those you went into business to serve a headache, some heartache and a whole lot of money.
Once you’ve put together a draft of your emergency plan, I recommend seeking out an attorney to help you put everything in place, legally speaking. So there’s no question of who has power to do what, if it comes to that.