Written by: Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. Between running operations, business management, product development and bringing dollars in the door, time goes by incredibly fast and days often start to merge together. We are often so immersed in the day-to-day ongoings of our businesses; we tend to forget to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
In early 2020 the whole world was shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic and everyone felt the effects. Many businesses were forced to either adapt or close, while other businesses experienced a surge in business they weren’t equipped to deal with. Regardless of where you fall in this situation, none of us were prepared to deal with this unimaginable act of God.
In May of 2020, my family and I tested positive for Covid-19. We were in a mad dash to tie up loose ends with my business, inform family and friends as well as make a plan of action to keep things moving without us for the next month. All of this preparation and planning taught me a few valuable lessons when it comes to operating a business.
1. Have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for EVERYTHING!
Every good business model includes SOPs as part of the back end operations. These are the step by step instructions for every aspect of your business. They are essential for onboarding team members, ensuring quality is maintained and helping others fill gaps when a member of your team is absent for some reason (Like getting Covid-19).
At the time when I was dealing with Covid-19, I only had SOPs for things I was outsourcing. This only covered the onboarding and quality assurance aspect of my operations. This did not cover maintaining business operations when a team member (me) is absent! Without me there to handle client work and bring money in the door, the business essentially ceased operations because there were no instructions for how to do my job. Having an SOP for every task in your business ensures that the business doesn’t live and die with you
2. Have Multiple Revenue Streams
Regardless of circumstances, this is a solid principle for any business owner. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket because the second the handle on your basket breaks, you’ve lost everything! While I was sick, I realized I had no other streams of revenue coming in. If Covid managed to land me in the hospital, I would be without income for however long I was gone. Having automated streams of revenue or even just another way to serve your customers helps guarantee that you never have to worry about not having a plan B if plan A fails.
3. Have a Good Support Team
My final, and probably most important, lesson was to have the right support team in place. Sadly, during this time, I had just lost my assistant and did not have anyone to fill in for either of us when I got sick. SOPs and multiple revenue streams are great things to have in place, but without people there to execute and maintain those things, they aren’t going to help you if you are gone for a long period of time.
As I mentioned above, it’s never a good idea to be the only person in your business (except in the very beginning) because that means the business only functions when you are around. This isn’t a sustainable business model, and it certainly won’t help you grow your business in the long term.
Operating a business in times of crisis is never easy; periods of growth and change rarely are. The best thing we can do is use this information to help us be better prepared for the future. Covid-19 has really highlighted the importance of preparing for worst-case scenarios in every aspect. You never know when something could happen that takes you away from your business.
Taking small steps to help build a solid foundation in your business means you are more likely to weather the storm later. Start small and get SOPs put in place, doing so will allow you to do the other things with ease and make sure you are ready for anything! If you need help creating your SOPs click this link to download my free template that includes instructions on how to get started.
You can sign up for a free SOP Template and get more great tips here!
Melissa Gamarra, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Melissa Gamarra is a Certified Online Business Manager and Author living in Salt Lake City. She helps online business owners create organization and business strategies so they can scale their companies effortlessly