Often as business owners we are so focused on the “now” that we don’t think about the future. We don’t consider the “what if” as we can just do it all and be it all – so we carry on in the same manner….until disaster strikes.
And then reality hits, we realise we can’t do it all – and you ask yourself “Have I Hospital Proofed my business?”
What am I talking about? I am talking about – what if you couldn’t work because you (or someone close to you) required a trip to the hospital ER – and their was no George Clooney in sight to save your business.
So how did my business function “as normal” during my recent 6 hour stint in the ER? Here’s my top tips:
1. Communication becomes even more vital. Advise clients, contacts and your tribe about the situation. Spare them the gory details, but have a clear way they can contact you that perhaps is not direct mobile phone. Such as email or voicemail or phone divert – so they know you are not ignoring them. And don’t forget your staff. For us – a quick message on Slack saying “in hospital – hold the fort” – and my team knew to man the phones and emails for the day.
2. Never assume anything. I was kind of hoping the ER would be empty – but naturally it had a queue longer than the local pub during happy hour. So don’t tell clients you will be back in a hour – as chances are this won’t happen. Plan for the worst, and if things happen quicker than planned then fantastic.
3. Have people on your team who can take charge while you are dealing with emergencies. Delegation and Trust are two skills every business owner needs. Yes, you might be running a business solo – but can you divert your phone, get someone to check your email, have someone to finish off anything on your to do list? If you don’t have that support network, it is time to put plans into place to make it happen. Sooner rather than later.
4. Be prepared. Even if you were never a girl guide or a scout this still applies. Sure, most of yesterday was non-income producing time for me, but I was prepared in the sense that I took my bag of gadgets to keep the 4yo occupied and I always have a backup notepad and pen with me. So whilst cuddles and comfort were definitely my priority, yes I was that mother in the ER writing blog posts in between waiting (no need to judge – that is just how I roll).
5. Always have a Plan B, or even Plan C and D just in case. I thought a few hours in the ER and we would be home and bam – straight back to work. So my Plan B was to work later in the afternoon and night to catch up. Sadly Master 4 took a turn for the worse and I had to then bundle up both kids and head back to the ER for another stint and I didn’t get home until 9pm. So Plan C came into effect – messages to clients advising of the situation, and spending the time in the hospital bed writing lists for my new staff member who starts on Monday and more blog posts. My business doesn’t stop – but you need to be agile and work differently. Sometimes it is OK for work to not be the priority and just take things slow (well providing you have your team helping you like mentioned above).
So do I recommend a few trips to the ER in one day to ensure your business runs smoothly – no – definitely not.
“I can’t say the trips to the hospital were fun, but boy did it make me thankful and grateful for the processes I implemented in my business early on. It made me thankful for my team who I trust whole heartedly to take over when needed.”