How much pain would your business feel if suddenly you couldn’t email your clients? What if you lost your correspondence file or your phone lost its dial tone? We tend to avoid thinking about a business catastrophe until it hits close to home. And when problems hit, we need them fixed yesterday and are willing to pay a lot to make them go away.
Anticipate Common Problems
How you solve them will depend upon your business model, budget, and risk tolerance.
Fire/Earthquake/Hurricane. Imagine that everything in your office is destroyed. What are the steps you’d take to get things up-and-running?
Theft. Your important information is gone, and in the hands of who-knows? Have you safeguarded your passwords, financial, and contact information (especially of your clients)?
No Internet connection. How could you get/send emails?
No dial tone. How could you call (and get calls from) your clients?
Web host offline. How can people find you online?
Emails bounce/blocked. Recently I found that my domain has been “spoofed” (someone sent a bunch of spam to people, making it look like I emailed it). The result is that I couldn’t send emails to some of my existing clients. My work-around was to create a (free) gmail account (which isn’t blocked) to send outgoing messages to these clients.
Crashed hard disk/virus. Your files aren’t accessible. Now what?
Deleted/Lost/Trashed file(s). One (or more) of the files on your computer (or website) suddenly is unusable. How can you get it back?
Illness/Death/Leave. What if you or your employees, couldn’t do your job?
Wrong contact information. An important advertisement (including Yellow Pages or 411 information listing) has the wrong contact information (worst case: your competitor’s contact information).
Money. What if you bounced a check to one of your suppliers? What if your credit cards are denied? What if your merchant account stops processing your client’s payments?
Don’t Forget To Test
Too often people find that their computer backups are incomplete or unusable. Restore your backup to another computer. Use that computer for a day.
It’s not a matter of IF you’ll have a problem, it’s just WHEN.
Spending time (and money) to avoid a problem may feel like it’s a distraction from growing (or doing) your business. But it’s the key for making clients feel like you’re there when they need you.