How to Emergency-Proof your Service-Based Business

I’m just coming off the latest event for my offline business. We’ve pulled it off twice a year, for 16 straight years and it’s truly a mainstay in my community.

My pop-up consignment event, Tar Heels Kids, provides gently used and well-priced children’s goods to new moms, grandmas and anyone looking for affordable clothes and toys for their kids. Since starting, it has grown from 100 to 650 participants (which is where I finally had to cap it) and people who move out of the area plan vacations around the event. I’ve even had repeat customers who travel from overseas to attend.

To say that the community loves the event is an understatement.

Years ago, I was pulling together the event almost entirely on my own. I did that for years, even while homeschooling my four kids and with an active duty husband who was frequently away.

Then one year, a perfectly imperfect storm happened. My husband was deployed and my kids, who were a bit older, had events and activities that were happening--all at the same time I needed to be working 12-hour days (and more!) to pull off the event.

Something had to give. And I decided that what needed to give was my need to be in control. The event wasn’t going to happen otherwise.

Letting go of the reins

When you’re a business owner, it’s hard to give up control. But when it’s a matter of the work getting done or not, it’s necessary. Not only that, but it’s impossible to scale if you hold onto all the work.

Thankfully, I had a plan in place prior to this imperfect year. I had hired someone to help me several years before and she had a good handle on what needed to happen. Plus, I had detailed instructions and step-by-step actions on how to make the event happen.

I put this plan in place as soon as I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do it all myself.

The result? That was four years ago and I haven’t managed the event since. Every year, it goes off without a hitch and I’m happily working in my online business instead. Yes, I still have a presence there, but as the manager, not as the worker. I do a little bit of pre-work and I show up at the event to help out. But my hands are out of the majority of the work.

(I call this staying out of your crockpot with my online biz team.)

Developing an emergency plan

There are several key components to any emergency plan, whether it’s in your business or your escape route for your home. Let’s go over some of the key things you need in place to emergency-proof your business.

  • A central hub where you keep all the vital information about your business. I keep mine on (you guessed it!) Trello. I call this my Business Binder and it has key contact information, my brand colors and fonts, links to my website and social accounts and loads of other vital information my team would need should I disappear tomorrow.

  • Standard operating procedures. These are key to ensure that business goes on as usual if you’re incapacitated. There are certain ways you do things and your audience expects you to show up--rain or shine. With SOPs, your team can carry on without you while you’re away. This helps you maintain the reputation of your business (and yourself) if there’s any reason why you can’t serve your clients.

  • A go-to person for all financial and legal issues. This needs to be a trusted advisor, a business partner or even a spouse. Choose someone who you trust explicitly and make sure they know how to access your bank accounts if necessary. (Have you heard about the bitcoin chief who suddenly died months ago--and hadn’t shared any passwords with anyone? His customers’ $200 million is held hostage or even gone entirely now.)

Need help figuring out how to use Trello effectively so you can create your business hub? Watch my video now!

In general, it’s important to have a plan in place. You never know when disaster may strike and you want to make sure that your business continues moving while you’re cleaning up the mess.

Life happens, especially when you’re a one-woman show. I’m proof of that! Be prepared, communicate with others and ensure your audience that you’re there for them--even if you can’t be there for them.

If growing and developing your business is at the top of your to-do list so you can go away on that vacation, you need my discovery call checklist. Grab it today!

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    Rhonda Melogy