Let’s face it – emergencies happen. Even in business. If you need to step back from your business for a season or an extended period, you will need help managing things. Who will step in when you’re away? And how will they know what to do?
As a solopreneur, you are the chief everything officer. You are the boss, chief financial officer, administrative assistant, human relations rep, salesperson, marketing director, and janitor. But as a solopreneur, it’s also your responsibility to future-proof your business. This includes preparing for emergencies and having a system in place that’ll help your business function or close shop if something happens to you.
You know your business inside out. So, you don’t need a how-to sheet to get stuff done. But your proxy will need a how-to reference sheet. And the best way to build one out for them is by creating an emergency transition plan.
This plan is not about getting proper insurance or securing confidential client information. While those are all good things to do, there are other things you need to do now to prepare your business, clients and vendors should something happen to you.
Who can manage your business? This should be someone you trust completely. They will access and manage everything, your bank accounts, customer information and intellectual property. They’ll also communicate with your vendors, clients, and online community; pay bills; cancel subscriptions; and more. Your proxy needs to be someone who will honor and carry out your wishes. This could be a spouse, adult child, close friend or fellow solopreneur.
Every office is unique in the way it’s organized to function. If you step into a stranger’s office, think of how long it would take you to locate all the key information about their business. You can reduce that frustration for your proxy with some intentionality.
There are three areas you should pay attention to when building your Emergency Transition Plan: finances, online accounts and passwords, and administrative processes.
From processing client payments to paying vendors, what information do you need to pass on to your proxy? Beyond writing down where you bank and your account numbers (definitely do this!), you proxy needs you to:
Online Accounts and Passwords
Besides your online banking accounts, you likely have several other accounts you use for your business. These accounts include your website, customer relationship management system, social media, online scheduler, and digital payment systems like PayPal or Stripe. Often, the username and password are not enough to log into these accounts. Your proxy will need to know which phone number is used for multi-authentication, the answers to the security questions and the PIN for each of your online accounts. Make sure you document these too.
Your business is your business. You run things a certain way because it works for you and your customer base. Think about what you do each day, week and month. What are your processes? Write these down. The more details you can share, the better.
Some of your day-to-day processes may include:
Your rep may not be familiar with all the tools you use. Take note of everything – how to log in, navigate the site, and perform certain tasks. You can even write outdraft messages for them to send out.
Remember, creating an emergency transition plan is an iterative process and detail is key. The more detail you can provide, the more confidently your proxy will be able to step in and take care of things.
An emergency transition plan is one way to your business for the unexpected. There are other things you should consider too, such as working with an attorney to write up legal documents like a business transition plan. Your emergency transition plan should supplement everything you’re already doing to prepare for business emergencies. To connect with a coach that can assist you with creating your emergency transition plan, use our Coach Match process.
Rachel Collins (Financial Coach)
Rachel Collins is a financial coach on a mission to help others use their money so they can thrive in all areas of life. She loves working with women who feel intimidated, confused and downright overwhelmed by money, be confident with making money decisions in their personal life and in their businesses. When she’s not coaching, Rachel is either volunteering at church, out for a run, playing in the dirt in her garden, or being silly with her three children.
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