As small business owners we are so focused on growing our businesses that we sometimes forget all the factors that are involved in daily living. This week a small business owner got ill and taken to the hospital. Fortunately, he will recover, but he will be spending at least a week in the hospital and then will have a 4 to 8 week stay in a rehabilitation center.
A little information on the business. It is almost three years old and as a solopreneur he wears all the hats. It is a very “hands on” type of work and frequent customer contact is essential for its continued operation.
I visited with him this week and found out that all the operational systems and procedures were available only in his own head. His home office, according to his wife, was an “unorganized mess.” Due to his current condition, he is not able to provide any guidance as to what can be done to continue servicing his customers during his absence.
I don’t know if his business will survive. Please consider taking the following steps for your own business. The goal is to have everything in such good order that if you left, someone can walk in and continue the operation.
• Develop an operational manual. This describes what your service or product is, where it is located and how it is delivered.
• Have a list of suppliers with complete contact information
• Maintain a list of work in progress. That includes orders that have not been filled as well as any outstanding receivables.
• Have pricing formation on services and products
• Have your accounting in order so that your check book is balanced, and all other financial records are accessible and understood. Make sure that your spouse or other trusted person has the authority to sign on your accounts.
• Have a list of all financial obligations both recurring and one time payments that have been made or are owed.
• Have detailed information on your marketing efforts as well as your complete data base and an explanation of how it is set up.
Another option: if your spouse or a trusted employee cannot step up and run the business, is to have a trusted competitor in a position to handle your operation until your return. Yes, this is possible. I personally have used this for my business as well and have run a business for a trusted competitor.
Expect the unexpected and be prepared.
Tips & Advice by Nick Petra, CFP – Founder of Strategic Duck and BizQuack
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