Why You (Really) Need a Backup Plan…

But that’s okay. The good news is that I’m doing it at all.

Last week, my laptop danced with a cup of coffee, and the poor Macbook ended up in the Apple hospital with a bad dizzy spell. Turns out that liquids drive your keyboard to type very funny things that make no sense at all.

So much for that lovely long day I’d planned for content creation…

Still, as frustrating as that could be, there was much to celebrate.

For one, I’m lucky enough to live in a town that had the repair I need, close by and easily accessible.

For two, I had other ways of getting done what I needed to get done.

And for three, the real miracle was that this hadn’t happened already.

Like, 100 times. :) 

So I typed this little post on my Bluetooth keyboard, through a mini iPad that showed text at about a 6 point font, hoping that I myself was not typing things that made no sense at all…since I could barely see it.

 And thinking about resilience. 

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you, too, have had your share of challenges. The printer won’t print, that recording you promised of your webinar didn’t record, that fancy new customer management software you paid for is too complicated to use.

It happens to all of us. And yet, your business has to keep running, whether or not Mercury’s in retrograde.

So what do you do?

How do you plan for the things you can’t plan for?

Create redundancy. Build in systems. And for heaven’s sake – have a backup plan.

This is especially critical for certain aspects of your business. Billing. Customer service. Program or product delivery.

You always need a plan in mind for what you would do, if something went wrong. What that looks like from one business to another will vary, I know. Still, better to think this through. 

Because when you carry an umbrella, it’s less likely to rain. 

For starters:

1. Client Contacts: If you can’t make it to the office for any reason (flat tire, illness, weather), do you have a way to notify your clients? Can you reschedule easily? Can they?

2. Technology Fails: If you spill YOUR coffee on the keyboard, get a bad virus on the PC, or run out of printer ink right before your workshop, what will you do? How about if your headset dies, you lose your charger, or the internet drops just before your teleconference?

3. Wonky Websites: If you wake up and your website is just a white sheet with some weird gobbledygook where once you had a work of art, do you know who to call and how to get it fixed? Fast? Yeah. That’s happened to me. Twice.

4. Package Problems: If the notebooks you ordered don’t show up for your conference (as happened to my coach) or come in at 100 short (as happened to me), how will you make sure the people in the room get what they need? and what they paid for?

5. Team Troubles: If your assistant quits (as did my first VA) or goes to Australia for a month (as my admin does now), can you continue to function? Do you know how to access passwords, key files or other information you may need while they’re gone?

6. Event Options: if you’re running a team, can they make it without you? If people are counting on you for a special day, do you have redundancies in place? What do you do if the van dies? Or you leave your best lens at home? Or it’s raining and you’d planned something outdoors? Or you can’t find the venue where the Big Day is happening?

Things will go wrong sooner or later. That’s part of the deal. And no, of course, there’s no way you can plan for everything.

But just like a fire drill or any other practice run, knowing what you’d do – if you had to – could really save the day, your sanity, and – your business.

How about you? What are your best tips for being prepared? 


Photo Credit: Jean L. on Flickr 

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