Have you ever wondered how to write a continuity plan for small business? If not, you really should, because … what happens to your business if something happens to you? Do you have a plan?
Life is a lot on a normal day, but what if …
EVERYTHING FALLS APART. Like …
Something happens to you. You get sick, or injured, or worse….
Seriously, what happens to your business if something happens to you?
IS YOUR ASS COVERED?
I know, I know… nobody likes to think about what might happen when the sh*t comes down, but in Julee Yokoyama’s words: 'avoidance is NOT a strategy'.
It makes sense to put a continuity plan for small business in place, while you’re thinking straight, don’t you think?
What Happens To Your Business If Something Happens To You?
I’m quoting Julee Yokoyama because this is the sort of thing Julee is an expert in.
A natural planner and problem solver, she calls herself a business operations consultant and strategist with a special nick for succession planning, risk management, and contingency planning for small business. In other words, she helps people plan for that time when they might not be available to run their business, whether that is voluntary or not.
Imagine these scenarios:
- You are about to become a mum
- You suddenly have to drop everything to take care of a parent or a child
- You finally booked that extended holiday you’ve been dreaming of
- You become ill, really ill
- Your partner or spouse passes away
- One of your critical staff has an accident and needs to spend weeks in the hospital
The common denominator: it all requires you to step away from the day to day of your business for a longer period.
SO… Have you ever put ‘What happens to business if owner dies’ in the Google search box?
Honestly, does anybody know where to start when you’re not there? What happens to your business if something happens to you or a loved one?
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?
Planning For The Unthinkable: How To Write A Contingency Plan.
I’m going to assume that like most people (me included), you have a loose plan in your head at best.
With what 2022 dished up for me, I now know better. In my case, let’s just say a loose plan was better than no plan. But a solid continuity plan for small business would have been much, much better.
So…HOW DO YOU CREATE ONE?
Obviously, I ask Julee.
Here’s what she does when she deals 1:1 with her clients:
1. How To Write A Contingency Plan: Step 1 - Planning
The first thing Julee does is to take stock of all the risks, including the gaps and the opportunities. It may be dramatic and not what is scoring high on people’s list of fun things to do, but looking at worst-case scenarios helps you capture the full scope.
2. How To Write A Contingency Plan: Step 2 - Organising
From there, Julee provides a toolkit that helps brain storm tangible actions. Is the risk real? How likely is it to happen? And what would the impact be? Does it require prevention planning or contingency planning? Or is it a case of ‘we know it’s there, we are very aware of it, but we choose to just let it be’? Because that is an option too.
Julee recommends creating a ‘Central Source Of Truth’ document that identifies all the pieces and components and tactics happening in the business. It’s a surface level document that offers an awareness of everything that needs attention. In the world of contingency planning, it’s the holy grail.
This is also the perfect moment to look at the systems and processes in the business. Is there room for improvement? Julee kindly reminds me it is a pet-priority of mine that helps with productivity (she’s damn right about that!). But she’s also quick to point out that for risk management and contingency planning, it plays an equally important role.
3. How To Write A Contingency Plan: Step 3 - Access and awareness
Julee warns things aren’t always as straight-forward as people think.
Too often, in her experience, business owners’ response to the question of what happens to your business if something happens to you?: ‘Nothing. The business would just stop existing.’
Which is all fine and well, but …it still needs to be closed down. And somebody will have to do it, so it makes a lot of sense to make sure that that already bereaved person knows where to start. Shoulder tapping a facilitator and involving the bookkeeper and the lawyer are a good place to start.
It also means your VA doesn’t need to have all the keys to the castle, AND it doesn’t matter if your spouse is not interested in knowing how to access the bank account.
All they need to know is where to find the ‘Central Source Of Truth’.
4.How To Write A Contingency Plan: Step 4 - Accountability
From there, it’s a matter of reminding yourself of regular check-in moments to update your ‘Central Source of Truth’.
Julee reckons she can get it all organised in about 8 hours all up, depending on your individual situation. In her business, she offers the option
- to hold your hand and do all the risk management and contingency planning for small business, etc. on a 1:1 basis
- to download the 30 page step-by-step template guide and DIY the process
- hire her as a facilitator
A Continuity Plan For Small Business. My Own Thoughts.
After last years’ experience (with the passing of my mum, major storm-damage to my house and the absence of one of my key-employees also related to care and bereavement), I know without a sliver of doubt that Julee is right. I was lucky to be a seasoned business owner and blessed with a competent team, but I’d hate to think what would have happened if I would have been struck with a year like 2022 a few years ago.
Without a doubt, unpleasant as it is, we shouldn’t stick our head in the sand in planning for the unexpected.
So, on my list of things to do: continuity planning for small business a la Julee Yokoyama.
Connect With Julee Yokoyama
Interested to learn some more about Julee’s ‘Cover Your Ass Plan’? Here’s a good place to start:
Also…Some VERY Exciting News!
Today’s podcast about continuity planning for small business is not all doom and gloom (albeit mighty essential)!
Here’s some exciting news: FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY, I'M RUNNING A PRIZE DRAW.
Why would you bother?
The winners get:
Four weeks of my coaching time to end the daily overwhelm, reach your goals and multiply your success. Seriously!
Two full focus planners. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ll know these planners were a game-changer for my business. (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out Episode 22 of the podcast)
ALL I’M ASKING IN RETURN IS FOR YOU TO SHARE THE GOOD VIBES:
Every time you share the podcast on social media, and tag me, or tag someone in one of my social media posts, you'll get an entry. (For all of my social media handles, check the show notes).
If you leave a review on the Apple podcast, you'll get TWO entries into the prize draw. I've popped a link to the Apple podcast in the show notes as well. (Hint: you don't have to use the apple podcast player to leave a review on the Apple podcast!)