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Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes, the unexpected just happens. An earthquake just occurred in Northern New Jersey, affecting New York and Pennsylvania as well. Superstorm Sandy caused absolute chaos on the east coast. In Philadelphia, a nor’easter just came through and knocked over a tree, killing a woman in her car. In Boston, where I am now, the heat got knocked out in my grandkids’ daycare so that it had to close. Meanwhile, the ski slopes in New Hampshire are enjoying the fresh snow.

We try to plan for everything, but sometimes we just don’t know what is going to happen. Weather events, family emergencies, health issues – we know these things may happen, but we don’t know how, or when, or why. So how can we prepare our businesses for them?

There are a couple different steps that you can take. First, look through your company procedures, and make sure that if something happens to one of your employees, that you have their procedures fully documented. You don’t have to have a replacement already trained (that would be redundant) but someone should know where they can find those procedures so that they can step in and take the missing employee’s place for the time being.

What happens if something happens to one of your major clients, or you lose a major client? Make sure you have the processes in place to replace that client as soon as possible.

What happens if something goes wrong with your digital systems and providers? There is a lot of hacking out there. I got an UberEats charge on my credit card from the Netherlands, which the credit card company flagged, and I had to get a new credit card! I have just gone through a security audit with my network provider. It’s imperative to make sure that your information is secure, so that if your system goes down, you can still recover. Where are your backups? Right now, we use Microsoft Teams for everything so that all of our backups are on the cloud. How are you protecting your company’s information? If it is confidential you have to get rid of duplicates that you have made, or if it’s out of date, do you know where the latest version is? What are your procedures for organizing this information, not just storing it?

Over the past few years, I have had a few unexpected events happen to myself as well. Last year my grandson was born early, which meant that I left work to help out earlier than expected. But I knew that my business and my team would be fine. I built this business and solidified it so that I could take the time that I needed and my team was able to continue without me for a while. Family comes first. Make sure that your business is prepared to come second.