If 2020 has taught us anything it is that life has many sudden, unexpected twists and turns. Most of us have experienced many, of course, but this year has thrown us into a whole new dimension.
When people typically think of a disaster, what immediately comes to mind is an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, terrorist attack, pandemic or other type of national or worldwide catastrophe. In reality, it can also be something affecting you specifically, such as an abrupt layoff or slack in business, a sudden illness or injury, loss of someone close, family stress, technical failure or many others – the myriad of possible situations is endless.
My experience with personal catastrophes over the 30+ years I’ve been in business has ranged from major technical failures resulting in loss of client data; illness, and my roof blowing off, rendering not only my home but my computer equipment and data useless; to the sudden death of my sister in 2017.
Some of my colleagues have had their lives collapse around them without warning. One had her house picked up in a tornado, losing everything. Fortunately, she survived, but lost all of her client data, computer, and files. Another died at a very young age at her desk due to a stroke. Yet another lost everything in a flood.
Preparation for the unknown can be overwhelming – a daunting and uncomfortable task that many of us shy away from as we move about our busy daily lives. We tend to focus on what is in the moment, rather than what “might” happen, assuming that there is plenty of time. To use some famous last words, “I’ll get around to it.” Some people even believe that preparation is bad luck and can trigger or “jinx” negative events.
Though it may sound harsh, when you’re in business serving other people, their priority is not you – it’s what you do for them. If you should drop off the grid for any reason without a plan, it leaves them hanging in midair, projects unfinished and potentially without access to their data. When push comes to shove, if you aren’t able to fulfill the service, their needs are not being met and they will move on. The old adage holds true, “It’s not personal, it’s business.”
As each situation has reared its ugly head, it’s had its own unique challenges, forcing me to reevaluate each time of what worked and what failed as a result of preparation – or lack of it. Something as seemingly insignificant as a power outage lasting a few days can wreak havoc in a small business’ bottom line.
Large or small, deviations from our normal lives alter our ability to continue as usual if we don’t have a plan. Creating even a basic plan helps us to retain some control, delegate if we need to, and reduce the impact to our clients and family.
You can begin with the free disaster plan available on our website.