Is Your Business Ready To Weather The Storm?
We're writing this as we're waiting for the approach of Hurricane Irma. With Tracy just outside Orlando, FL, and Susanne down at the Hammock Coast in SC, just a mile from the Atlantic, this isn't anything new, but it is scary and worrisome none-the-less. Here's what the beach looked like in South Carolina around lunchtime on Sunday September 10th 2017.
While we are worried about our families and homes, and doing everything we can to prepare for the approaching storm, possible power outages and damage to our properties, the one thing we don't worry about is our business. It's a huge relief knowing that things will keep running, moving forward, and putting money in the bank account even when we're busy getting ready to evacuate or hunker down to wait out the storm. We know things will continue to run smoothly even if we're dealing with prolonged power outages, like the ones Tracy is facing now and Susanne faced last year with Hurricane Matthew (and will face again tomorrow and Tuesday).
Which brings up an interesting question:
Is your business ready to weather the storm?
You may not live close to the coast or in an area that has a lot of hurricane activity, but you and your business will be weathering storms. They could be actual storms like a tornado, snow storm, or other natural disaster, or they can be a figurative storm like a health or personal issue that forces you to focus on family and loved ones instead of working on your business. Are you ready for when (not if) that's going to happen?
This is the second major storm we're in while running Piggy Makes Bank PLR. We made it through Hurricane Matthew last year and ended up with a record month. We're going to make it through Hurricane Irma as well and come out stronger on the other side. Most importantly we'll keep growing even when the power goes out, or we simply don't have the physical or mental energy to give 100% for a few days.
We can take a few days off to get ready to evacuate or board up the house and ride out the storm because we have a few key systems in place. That's what we want to share with you today. Take this advice to heart. You never know when it will come in handy.
Working Mobile Anytime, Anywhere
One of the big benefits of running and online business is that you can work anytime, anywhere if you're set up for it. We both have laptops that have all the key programs and information we need to keep working when we're on the road or away from our homes. This comes in handy when you're sitting with family across the state, in a hotel room somewhere, or are huddled in a closet because of strong winds and the potential for tornadoes. A big battery and a backup power source helps get a few more things done when the power goes out.
Of course a laptop isn't the only option. It's amazing how much you can do from your smartphone. We both have systems in place that allow us to access anything we need from our phones. This includes an app for password storage, Google drive and docs, Dropbox, and of course a browser to update social media, blog posts, and even send out emails. A small Bluetooth keyboard also comes in very handy.
Think about the different day-to-day tasks you do and figure out a way to do them from a laptop, tablet, or your phone. Not only is this great in an emergency, but also while you're on vacation or out and about for the day.
Backup… And Backup Your Backups
Having a lot of backups in place is crucial. This includes all important business documents, passwords, programs, files, and of course your websites and products. Have a backup in place for both your physical paperwork, and all digital information.
While a local backup on a hard drive or paper copies that you keep in your file cabinet are great, it's important to create a backup of the backup. If your home or home office floods, there's a fire, or some other disaster, you don't want to lose everything or spend a lot of time hunting down replacement documents. When your web-server crashes, or a new plugin you installed corrupts your site, a will have you up and running again in minutes. Get those backup systems in place and then create backups for your backups. Store important information in multiple places both locally and on the cloud. This creates a lot of peace of mind… trust us, you'll need it in a stressful situation like sitting around waiting for a hurricane to hit.
Automate, Automate, Automate… So Your Business Runs Itself
When we were out of power for a week and I didn't get a chance to write and send emails or create new PLR packs, our business kept on tracking and the sales kept on coming in thanks to our autoresponders. When we decided to take December off last year to enjoy time with family, we kept making money. When there's a good chance of both of us losing power over the course of the next 24 hours, we're not worried.
We're not worried and we know our business will continue to grow because we have systems in place. You'll still get emails from us on autopilot, thanks to our autoresponders. You'll still be able to buy every single PLR pack from our shop (… please do, we might have to spend quite a bit in post storm recover), you'll see social media updates from us, even if neither one of us has power, and you'll be able to download and use everything you're buying from us or have bought from us in the past. That's because we put the systems in place to insure that much of our business runs on autopilot.
Put those systems in place. Start to outsource and automate some of your tasks. It's not something you'll do overnight. It's not something you'll be able to do the night before disaster strikes. But if you put the time and effort into creating that automation now, it will serve you well down the road. Trust us, it comes in handy as the storm approaches, but also when you're taking some much deserved time off, or when you want to give that next big product or project all your focus and energy.
Build Goodwill With Your Customers
We pride ourselves in our awesome customer service (truth be told, that's all Tracy). We do our best to go the extra mile for our customers and subscribers. That builds a lot of goodwill. When we have to tell them that we won't be able to get back to them because of a possible prolonged power outage, that isn't an issue. Instead, we have been getting wonderful emails all week wishing us well and showing support. We can't tell you what that means when you're tired, worried, and stressed out.
What can you do today to start building goodwill with your audience? You may not need it for a storm or natural disaster, but trust us, there will be times when you mess up, technology breaks, or something else happens that will have you being just as thankful as we are for understanding and supportive people.
Share Your Story And Have Some Fun With It
Which brings us to our last point. Have some fun with it and share your story. We've been very open about what's going on at our houses. Last year, during Hurricane Matthew we ran a big 50% off sale for anything and everything in our store. This year we threw a pre-Hurricane Party for our latest pack – Crafting A Compelling Call To Action.
I went down to the beach today to get some footage of the surf, which you can see at the top of this page and which inspired me to write this article for you while we wait for the storm to make it over here. Storms are going to happen. We had no control whatsoever over the course Irma was taking. What we did have control over is how to react to it. We chose to share our story, stay busy, and have some fun with it. So did this guy at the beach today…