Have you ever wondered if your business could make it without you?
As a small business owner, your primary focus is making sure your business is running smoothly and efficiently. However, it’s also important to consider the factors that might disrupt it because if there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s to prepare for the unexpected!
As such, it’s important to consider developing a smart, sound contingency plan in the event something was to happen to you or one of your key employees. Here are some important things to consider as you begin:
- Develop a plan: Regardless of the size of your business, you need a system in place and people you trust to make sure things will run smoothly without you. Failure to plan will put unnecessary angst on everyone. In the plan, be sure to identify your replacement – someone who can step into your shoes to deal with employees and clients.
- Foster a “we culture instead of I” culture: You know the important tasks that must be done to keep your business thriving, but does anyone else? Share those duties with your staff by delegating more, involving staff in client and vendor relations, and cross training. Invest time to mentor your replacement to make certain he or she is ready.
- Document your operations: Be sure to analyze the key elements of your business – things like product and service offerings, how and where services are rendered, and relevant client information – and, based on that analysis, create a guide to help others know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and who does it. Don’t forget to include those important administrative details such as bill pay, contract renewals, and accounts receivable. Make sure it’s secure, but also accessible to those in your organization through a document management software or file cabinet.
- Provide access: In this digital age, you might have give trusted colleagues access to your computer or laptop, email accounts, bank and credit card account, and even your cell phone so they can continue to run the business. Rely on added protections, like multifactor authentication, for security. Make sure all your login information is up-to-date and use a password vault to manage and secure all your passwords.
- Develop employee hiring and exit plans: If an employee leaves your business or is out temporarily, you need to be ready to hire! Have position statements ready to go, as well as documented procedures for hiring and training new employees. The development of these types of procedures may seem daunting, so task your employees with writing their own position statements. Also, consider employee exit checklist.
- Financial and legal considerations: Consider having a secondary signature authority on your bank account, like a family member. Be aware of the difference between a joint and authorized user on a credit card and make changes accordingly. It also might be wise to grant someone Power of Attorney in case you are unable to make decisions on your own. If you do not have a will, get one! It is one of the most important things you can do to protect your family and business and be sure to designate an executor who is familiar with you and your business.
None of us like to think of the worst-case scenario but following these tried-and-true tips can help you begin the outline of a plan to protect your business. At Padgett, we have extensive experience serving small businesses and being a trusted advisor in good times and in bad. If we can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an office near you.