The End is Near (But it’s No Big Deal)

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on June 07, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Project Management

As business owners, we optimistically show up to work, sit down at our desk, and expect everything to go well. Every single day. Most of the time it goes okay but every once in a while something goes wrong. There could be any number of reasons but that’s the way it goes: Life deals us a bad hand one day and we find ourselves with a flooded office or a computer virus or a rabid dog that ate our records or a check that really does get lost in the mail.

These disasters can bring us down. They can grind our business to a halt and force us to put aside the important work that we normally do and instead focus on something that we’d rather not be thinking about. It costs time, effort, and money to solve, and those items are already rare at the best of times.

So, how can you manage these disasters before they even strike? And, how can you manage them if you can’t predict them? Obviously I could just list some basic business continuity procedures (like backing up your files, for example) but I want to paint a bigger picture first.

Start by thinking about the elements that you need to run your business. Many of my readers need to have access to email, to records, to a few specific programs. That’s it. The rest is locked up in their head as knowledge. If that describes you, how can your business survive if your current situation suddenly changed? What would you need to do to ensure that you could easily continue with those basic “must-have” elements listed above?

Here are some additional tips:

  • Before you brainstorm strategies to back up information, brainstorm what you really need to run your business. You might not need to back everything up, for example. You might only need to back up certain files.
  • Invest in the equipment that will allow you to switch quickly. One client of mine who relies on her computer, keeps a spare computer nearby and configured in the same way. It came in handy one day when a virus attacked her first computer. She simply switched over to her second one and kept working. Problem solved.
  • Figure out how much it would cost you to keep your business running smoothly if you suddenly didn’t have your office. Assume it burns down or floods or something. Could you work from home? Could you work from the coffee shop? These are options but are you set up for it? If you don’t want to buy another computer, figure out how easy it is to borrow a friend’s or use the one at your local library until you’re back up and running. If you do that, how will get your data?

Backing up your files is important but that’s not the only thing you should do. I believe that a smart business owner should be completely ready to immediately move into an entirely new business environment and continue working without missing a step. When you’re ready to that degree then a lot of the interim continuity can work itself out.

Let’s go prepare for those disasters!

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.