Whether you call yourself an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, or a mompreneur, you are part of an elite and growing segment of the Canadian business population who have taken the plunge and stepped out on their own and for that, I say Congratulations! You may have made this decision out of necessity (downsizing, perhaps?), or because you have a passion that you just have to pursue, but either way you are to be commended.
On the one hand, being self-employed can be extremely empowering. However, sometimes being an entrepreneur can seem as if you’re straddling the edge of an abyss. A crisis can hit and, depending on your business model, everything can go wrong at once.
Take for example a service provider who suddenly finds themselves with a family member who is sick. Out of necessity, your business gets relegated to the back burner while you care for your loved one. Even though you are busy providing TLC at home, your business obligations aren’t being met and when the health crisis is over there’s little or no business to come back to. That’s an extreme example but it can happen.
But don’t despair. Here are three steps you can take, starting today, that will keep your business going when the going gets tough!
#1 Don’t Be Indispensible
You don’t have to have a partner or divulge everything about your business to another person. However, it is extraordinarily helpful if you have a business manager or virtual assistant. That way, if a crisis occurs, you can quickly contact your assistant or manager and they can handle the client communication and manage things while you’re away. It is absolutely crucial that your clients be apprised of any changes in delivery schedule or outcomes, and if you are too busy putting out fires to make the calls yourself you must have someone else (who knows you business well) who can!
#2 Create Community Connections
Another way to help prepare for a potential crisis is to make sure you have connections in your industry and business community. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you have a crisis and are unable to meet your design obligations for a period of time, you should be able to refer your clients to a reliable alternative. In this way you can ensure that you are meeting your obligations, and your clients aren’t left high and dry (and disappointed!). As an added bonus, in reaching out to your colleagues you are also expanding your own exposure… who knows when they may need a helping hand!
#3 Get prepared and stay positive
Trouble finds all of us eventually, but it how you approach life’s challenges that what will help you not only come through a crisis personally but also professionally. Being risk-aware and putting some critical success factors in place will enable to you to stay calm and focused on your priorities. Staying positive and feeling like you have a plan will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
With your eyes-wide-open to the possibility of crisis, you can start to envision a solution to the challenges you may face. When and if disaster strikes, you’ll be able to quickly make a plan, know what you can handle and what you cannot, and know who to ask for help.
Now your turn… what is your crisis plan? Have you planned for the unplanned, and if so what tricks do you have up your sleeve??? Please enter a comment below and help a fellow entrepreneur out…