Disasters or family tragedies can strike families in many forms – Mother Nature, sickness and even computer problems can cause major difficulties for your business. Do you have a plan of action on how you will handle your home-based business if disaster were to strike? If not, you absolutely need to. Having a plan ensures that you can not only keep your business running, but decrease stress because you have already prepared for the unexpected.
Below are four tips to help you handle the unexpected.
1. Work around the events –Your customers will understand as long as you communicate with them. Be honest that things may take a little longer than usual, but keep your customers updated as often as possible. Communication is the key. Most people will understand the delay as long as they are aware of it. If you get to the point where you cannot work or cannot finish a project, but sure to be clear and honest about the situation and try to make an arrangement that will be acceptable. Also, let them know as soon as possible so they can prepare. Don’t wait until the last minute to advise them of a potential problem.
If you’re struggling because of a child being sick, try to work when the child is sleeping and don’t stress yourself out to work at other times. Make a schedule of what needs to be done, so that you can accomplish as much as possible during these times.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – As moms, we tend to feel that we should be able to handle everything that is thrown at us. Unfortunately, this just isn’t always the case. There are times when we need to allow ourselves to ask for help. When a tragedy occurs and you are simply overwhelmed, find someone who you trust and ask them for help. Many times, just having someone reply to customers on your behalf can take the pressure off your shoulders.
Allowing someone to help you when necessary can also be uplifting to them as they feel they can be a part of helping in a difficult situation. So don’t’ shy away from letting others know. We all benefit when we work together and help one another.
When our one-year old had surgery he didn’t handle the pain medication well. He was wide awake for the better part of two days. In this case, I knew ahead of time when the surgery would occur, but I had no idea what his recovery would entail. It was impossible to work while he slept, because he wasn’t sleeping. I realized that I not only needed help business-wise, but I needed help with him as well so that I could get some rest. While it was humbling to admit that I needed help, that I couldn’t do it all, it turned out as a great time spent with family that we would not have had if I hadn’t asked for help.
3. Prepare for the worst – Because we never know what the future holds, it is always better to be prepared. As the old saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.”
One of the best resources to help you prepare is the Home Office Recovery Plan: Disaster Preparedness for Your Home Office by authors Diana Ennen and Patty Gale. This e-book covers all the bases of getting a Disaster Recovery Plan in place now so that if disaster strikes your home business or an emergency arises, you are able to get your business back up and running quickly and smoothly.
Ennen states, “In my case, this guide has been a lifesaver as a resident of South Florida. I have prepared for eight major hurricanes in the past two years with Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma taking a direct hit on Broward County where I live. I was without power for two weeks with Hurricane Wilma. Had I not prepared, my clients would have suffered as would my business.”
Gale also knows the importance of this book having lived in New York after 9/11 and had the task of preparing a similar guideline for a company she was working with at the time. Both know the importance in ensuring your business will withstand whatever this hurricane or any disaster (including a theft in the office or fire) has to offer.
4. Get a Plan - There are times when life becomes overwhelming and you simply aren’t able to accomplish everything on your own. It’s for these times that you need to have some type of log of what you do and what needs to be done. Keep a spreadsheet of tasks that you do, how often they are done and mark them completed as you are able. Keep a list of passwords in a safe, secure place. Make sure that your family (or whoever may be helping you during this time) is able to carry on even in the event that you are away from home.
If possible, train someone that you trust to do the things that you do each day (at least the key things), so that when the unexpected arises you won’t be caught off-guard.
Tragedy comes in many shapes and forms, but if you are prepared much of the unnecessary stress can be avoided. When tragedy strikes, you want to be focused on the important things in life, your family and you. By advance planning you are able to do so.