Ask yourself…if tomorrow morning you were unable to speak or move, what would happen to your business. Would your Significant Other, or partner, your "Back-Up-Person" (BUP) be able to carry on? If not, what would happen to your customer base (and reputation)?
How would your income stream continue?
If you have auctions online, can somebody fill those orders when the auctions end?
Website orders & inquiries?
Questions from potential cutomers?
We might often think of our Etsy, Ebay, or Antique Booth businesses as a “one horse show”, but it can all end rather unpleasantly with a few unfulfilled orders and the resulting negative feedback.
I learned the hard way the importance of disaster planning ahead of time. In my case, it was an unexpected Stroke, but it could also be the result of a fire, an accident, or natural disasters such as a tornado, hurricane, or flood. I had done a few things discussing “what ifs” beforehand with my wife, but not nearly enough. SO, here’s a few suggestions that might help:
- Access to Data. Do you have available log-Ins & Passwords to your web stores, email addresses, and financial accounts? While there are many digital “vaults” available now to store all that information in (Norton has an excellent product), my fear has been that if that one App or Program is hacked……well, that thief now has access to everything. I use an “old school” method: a small flip open paper Memo Pad with each Log-In and Password written down. I can take it with me on trips in case there is a problem while away from my office, or simply toss it in my safe for protection. My wife and I have everything shared in it, and it proved very worthwhile for her to have available during my hospital stay.
- Processes: Does your back-up person (BUP) know how (and where) your inventory is stored? Have they ever packed an item - as you would - to ship it? Do they know how to purchase and print out a shipping label? This is a great thing to practice together ahead of time
- Stages of Sales: If you have online stores, do you wish to continue receiving orders or suspend them during an event? Does your BUP know how to suspend your store sales, or in the case of Ebay or Etsy, to put them in “Vacation Mode”, which will temporarily suspend sales? If not, the processes should be practiced ahead of time and also written down.
- Fees: Does your BUP know how various fees are paid? If not automatically taken out, that is another area to address. Likewise, if PayPal fees are not automatically sent to you, they should be aware of how to transfer funds to your bank if required.
- Problems: How do you respond to potential “problem” customers (or even scammers)? If no set policy is in place one should be discussed. We state our policies under the “terms & conditions” section on each individual web store, so they are easy to reference, or refer customers to. If a negative case is opened, a BUP should be aware of how it is preferred to respond.
Good Luck & Good Hunting!