Business Bites Episode 117: Creating a Disaster Plan Kit

Creating a Disaster Plan Kit

Episode 117 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode: It is almost inevitable that something will happen during the lifetime of our businesses that can cause disruptions if we aren’t prepared. Listen now as Rachel walks us through the steps to create our own disaster kit that will make it easier for someone to take over for you should you need to be absent for awhile.

 

What you will learn:

  • what should be included in your disaster kit
  • what a power of attorney is and why you should have one
  • why you need to record all of your steps and processes
  • and more!

 

Quick checklist:

  1. Compile all of your costs & bills for your business in one place.  Also include passwords, logins, how to pay your bills, etc.
  2. Compile your bank account information, credit card information, and line of credit access.
  3. Have someone designated as power of attorney.
  4. Create a handbook that is accessible to your power of attorney that instructs him/her what to do in your absence. Make a contingency plan that has instructions on how to access contracts and client lists, letters and statements drafted they can use to send to clients, workflows and actions that need to be done, etc.
  5. Have a plan to routinely review your kit and update as necessary.

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel Brenke:
All right, guys, let’s dig into this checklist so that you can get your kit created to be prepared whenever an issue comes up in the future, whether it is death, sickness, divorce, disaster, all the big Ds. We are going to walk through the steps, but understand I also have all this listed in checklist format for you at rachelbrenke.com/epi117. Understand, I said this on multiple episodes recently, I am filming this/recording because you guys can’t see me, I am recording this during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, so understand that when I make a couple of recommendations, you might have limitations right now because of everything that’s going on, but it can still be applicable to your business. Let’s just dig right in.

The very first thing you need to have compiled all in one place so that you’re not having to rush around or someone else try to dig through your stuff in order to find it is all of your costs and your bills in your business. You guys should already have this anyways. I’m going to link on the show notes page some of the budget episodes where I talk about cutting costs and identifying your costs of doing business, and while you’re getting all your costs and everything in order, you’re also going to include your passwords, your logins, and how those bills are paid.

My recommendation, which, FYI, we’re going to have a whole kit of this at rachelbrenke.com, but my recommendation for you guys would be to stick this into digital format as well as have it printed off and given to whoever you’re wanting to be responsible should an issue happen. Again, the first step is going to be compiling all your costs of doing business. This would be all your bills, making sure it stays updated, the cost, when they’re paid, how they’re paid, all passwords and logins. You also want to include with it all password and logins for websites, hosting, domain, your social media accounts as well.

I do know that on places like Facebook, it allows you identify so-and-so if something happens to you they can access, but we don’t necessarily want to rely on any sort of backup like that. We also don’t want to rely on what’s going to be one of our further points of power of attorney yet. We want to make it as low-hanging fruit and easy for things to be managed by whoever it is that you’re going to designate to take care of your stuff, whether on a temporary basis should an issue happen to you or longterm if you end up becoming terminally ill and/or deceased, so passwords, logins, all bills, costs, how they’re paid.

The next thing is your bank account, and this also includes your credit card and line of credit access. You need the numbers, the amounts and the access information to get into these accounts. Understand that depending on your business structure, you may have a partner that can wrap it up for you. They’re already probably going to be on the bank account, or if they’re on your LLC with you, they’re already going to be privy to that LLC’s bank account information, but if you have an entity or have not set up an entity… which, FYI, you need to become an LLC or a corporation. Don’t rely upon leaving yourself open for liability. We’ll be linking in our show notes page as well. But you want to make sure that you’re going to identify the bank accounts in numbers and access.

The third thing on our list, which also goes along with the access that I’m talking about, so we need to have a power of attorney. This is a legal document giving somebody the power of attorney for management and/or wrap-up of your business. I just mentioned an alternative to this is that you can include this person on business entity paperwork, such as your formation, operating agreements, et cetera; however, let’s say you have a business entity, you’re like a sole proprietor or you’re a single member LLC and you don’t have anyone else, you need to have a power of attorney that allows them to either manage your business temporarily or wrap it up for you.

I understand right now during the crisis you may not necessarily be able to get a power of attorney notarized or anything, which, FYI, we are going to put a template of this at rachelbrenke.com. It’ll be linked on the show notes page as well. But I do know some UPS stores and places like that are still offering notary services. Just make sure that you are respectful to social distancing in any government directives.

We’ve gone through a compilation of cost, passwords, logins to the bank account, bank account numbers and access, including credit cards, lines of credit, et cetera. The third is the power of attorney, and let’s add on to that you writing out your wishes to your and/or handbooks and guidances to the person that you’re designating to be the power of attorney, what you want them to do in case of death, what you want them to do in case of short-term sickness, longterm sickness, et cetera, because then they are going to know what to do with step number four.

This is a drafted letter and/or statement to send out to your clients or a statement for your website, social media for your customers to know what is happening and what’s going on if you’re going to put anything out there. If you’re in a services-based industry that relies upon you to be writing the services, you need to have this contingency plan in place with the directions to the person that you’ve identified as your power of attorney and also give them the guidance that they can use.

If you are in a situation where you’re extremely sick or you’re in a horrible car crash, and you’ve designated a partner or a close friend or family member, someone you trust, obviously, they’re going to be so distraught, worried about you, make it easier on them. Tell them exactly what you went through, a contingency plan, and also have a drafted letter and statements for them to be able to just copy and paste and utilize.

Obviously, with that, we need to have a listing, and this can also be included up at the top where we talked a little bit about passwords and logins, but I wanted to make this a little separate because oftentimes, people will forget to include access to contracts and customer or audience lists. It’s pretty easy for you to tell someone, “Log onto my Instagram and post this statement,” but with a service-based industry or you’re needing to reach out to very specific clients, you may not have a CRM. Should have a CRM and client management system.

If you do not have a standard running list of your clients, you need to have one, and you need to keep it available. This is also a great time, y’all, when you’re creating this kit to get your workflows in place, to identify all the tasks that are being done, all the action items that need to be done in your business, especially if it’s time-sensitive for clients or customers, and you can keep a running list.

If you’re an online e-commerce site, tell them exactly where to go. Make a video and/or write out how they can identify which orders are pending, how can they see the customer information, how you ship it, et cetera. Make sure that you have all the access to customer and client information available for the person that you have identified.

This is not a be-all and end-all. This is not going into talking about wills. This is a quick, easy kit that you guys can outline. The thing is, if you’ve listened to this and you’re still listening, but you’re thinking, “I’m going to just click this off because it’s all common sense,” I may be willing to bet the majority of you listening have not done this. I also have identified, even am I sitting here been telling you about this, a couple of things that I need to update and improve upon.

Here’s my tip, that this is not just a one time thing you need to do. Stick into like a quarterly re-evaluation or maybe at the first of the month. You guys know I’m huge on scheduling like that. I have first of the month tasks. I also have first of the quarter tasks. You need to add this disaster kit or what you can call as like an “oh, shit” kit because “oh, shit” stuff’s going down. This is what you can point to, update, and stick into your routine administrative procedures.

I talked about this previously. I’ve put this into my courses. I’ve talk about it on Instagram, especially when I’ve been talking about management of virtual teams. One thing that you can do, because you want to replicate as many benefits out of one action as possible, and I mentioned and I touched it here, take this time, especially now if you’re listening to this during COVID-19 and we’re on quarantine, video record, screen record all your steps. Show people exactly how can they get into your e-commerce site. Click on WooCommerce and view how to find customers, how to find their mailing information, have it… You’ll be able to then have the videos so when you’re bringing team members on, when you’re hiring people, when you’re going to sell the business, and especially obviously what we’re talking about here, if something happens.

Again, make sure you guys head over to rachelbrenke.com/epi117. This list is not a be-all and end-all, but this is a good, good, good identifier of what you need to have. I am going to be putting this kit with all the templates available for sale and download on rachelbrenke.com. I’m going to link it on the show notes page. It’s also going to be in the shop. If you guys have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out. I wish you guys best luck, and please, please get this under control because you never know when something’s going to happen.

Y’all, I had cancer at age 20, and I was having to email clients from my hospital bed. You don’t want to be doing that. You want to be able to focus on you if something happens. You want to make it easy as you can on someone who has to wrap up stuff for you, so make sure you go and do it. I’ll talk to you guys next week.

Tools & Resources:

 

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About the author

Rachel Brenke is a lawyer, author and business consultant. She is currently helping professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.

Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

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