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What to do if an emergency interferes with your small business

I want to share something that I think stops a lot of people from starting their businesses: what to do if an emergency interferes with your small business.  What happens if you, your spouse, or one of your kids are sick? What happens when you cannot be in your business that day?

I'm going to share four easy steps about what to do if an emergency interferes with your business.  I'll also give you a bonus step!

5 steps to take when an emergency interferes with your business

Pre-Work needed in case an emergency interferes with your business

You'll want to do some pre-work just in case something happens. This is something you need to do within this next week.  Add this to your calendar and add a recurring task to make sure you update this on a regular basis.

What you're going to do is create an as needed in case of emergency list. This is going to be a list of your vendors, clients, and anybody that you would need to notify in case there's an emergency.

Create the list where it makes the most sense for you. It can be an email list, a spreadsheet, a phone list, or written down somewhere. 

Make sure someone knows where to find this list so that in case of an emergency they have easy access to it.

You need to update your as needed in case of an emergency list on a regular basis.  Add this to your standard operating procedures that when you add a client or offboard a client your list gets updated.

Do you have an emergency contact list for your business?

Four steps you need to do when an emergency interferes with your small business

You've done your pre-work, but what do you do if you actually have an emergency

Step 1: Assess the emergency situation

The first thing that you need to do is assess the situation. Think about how you are going to be able to show up in your business.  Here are some questions to think about:

  • What are your days going to look like? 
  • What is your availability?
  • Is this something that impacts you directly?
  • Does this impact your schedule?

So really sit down and assess the situation. Figure out what this time period looks like for you.

Do you have a plan Can you get work done during an emergency?

Step 2: Figure out how long the emergency situation will impact your business

The second step is to figure out how long the emergency situation will impact your business.  Will you need to be completely away from your business? Or somewhat away from your business?

Sometimes you just don't know.  You have no idea how long it's going to be but make your best guess. It's always better to go out farther than you think. A lot of times you try to be really optimistic.

Figure out what you can do during an emergency situation in your business 

So after you've assessed the situation and figured out how this is going to impact you, you need to figure out in that time frame, what can you can get done. And then is that possible?

You need to sit down and think about how you are going to get the work done. Can you get the work done?

When I'm thinking about my business and what has to get done, number one is client work. Number one is always client work because you're trying to maintain client relationships. Number two is marketing and client acquisition. And then number three is all of the administrative stuff that goes along with your business. Those are really the big three.

Client work during an emergency situation

So if all you can do is the client work, then you're keeping your head above water.

Ask yourself, "Can I get all my client work done and can I get it done on time?" And then from there, you can see if you can start thinking about posting on Facebook and reaching out to people trying to acquire new clients.

But really, if you can just kind of keep your existing clients happy during this period of time. You're golden.

What happens when you don't think you'll be able to keep up with your current client work? Then you move on to step three.

Step 3: Notify anyone that is going to be impacted by the emergency situation

If you are not able to keep up with your current clients' work, then you need to notify them. Notify anyone who will be impacted by an interruption of your services.  

Even if you only think it's remotely possible, notify them. Because it's better to be proactive and notify people that something is going on than to not do it. 

There is nothing worse than when someone goes MIA!

So be proactive and let your clients know what is going on with your situation.  You don't have to tell them what it is, but you can state that you have a family emergency that you're currently dealing with and when you think it's going to be resolved.

Write a script so you have it on hand during an emergency situation

So during the pre-work stage make sure you also draft an email or have a script written up so whoever's going do that contact for you can do it easily. 

Your vendors could also be impacted if there are any projects that you're working on with them, so make sure you notify them as well.

So, it's really important to be proactive with both sides, your clients, and also your vendors. It might impact contracts and stuff, especially if you've got a certain time period to get stuff to them. For instance, if you're building a website.  If you reach out the vendor's much more likely to work with you.

Do what you can, while taking care of yourself

Step 4:  Do what you can while taking care of yourself

The reason that you do all the other steps is so that you can do step number four. If you do not take care of yourself during this time, it is going to be incredibly hard for you to recover from this. And it doesn't matter if it's a physical thing with you, or if it's an illness with somebody in your family.

If you just go, go, go and push, push, push it's not going to be good for you. It's going to take you longer to recover, and longer for you to get back on your feet.

Even when it's not you that's sick, right. Because as a woman, you tend to do burn the candle and somehow hope that you're going to miraculously get the energy and be able to do this. Your body is an amazing thing, and when you don't take care of yourself, your body will shut you down.

If you don't take care of yourself you could get sick 

How many times have you had a deadline or a project and you've pushed your way through. You haven't gotten enough sleep and you've just pushed, pushed, and pushed. And then you get really sick.  It's your immune system just kind of going, nope, we're done.

This has happened to me. It's used to happen to me every tax season. Right as tax season ended, I would get really, really sick because my body would be like, "Nope, you're done!"

So figure out what you can get done. Give yourself some grace to do this.  Put together that contact list, a little script of what you would want somebody to say or what you'll say because that's the other thing too is thinking about if you're in the midst of an emergency, you don't want to think about what you have to say. If you have your script written for you, you're golden.

When an emergency situation interferes with your business

When an emergency situation impacts your business, assess the situation, figure out how this going to impact you. How is this going to impact your business? And then figure out what you must get done. And if it's possible for you to do so, notify anybody who might be impacted in this, and then finally do what you can while taking care of yourself.

I'd love to know if you have a plan and how your plan is going, so please comment below!

You can also find me on Facebook, Small Biz Mama Podcast, you can hit me up on Instagram and shoot me a DM. I love to know what you're doing. While you're there, follow me on social media so that you can get into the conversation with me. And I also do a lot of live content outside the podcast. I'd love to have you join me for that.

What to do when an emergency interferes with your business

​Disclosure: We professionally create this podcast that receives compensation from companies that we talk about. So you must assume that any link you click is an affiliate link. Kristin and Ingram Digital Media only have affiliate relationships with companies that we believe in wholeheartedly. We are independently owned, and all of our opinions are​ our own.


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