When things are going well, we start getting complacent and start assuming that everything humming along in the background is working flawlessly.
You go to turn on your laptop in the morning ready to prep for a client meeting and a full day of work.
Your laptop just sits there doing nothing. DEAD. Really DEAD.
In a state of panic you start phoning computer repair outfits. The last time you hired a computer tech was two years ago and apparently he is no longer in business. Six phone calls later you find someone who will look at it right away.
You are getting more panicked every minute. On your phone, you can see messages from several customers. You can’t do a thing for them because you need the software that is ON your computer.
Sheesh, many of your programs and apps are in the clouds, BUT even if you could rent or borrow a computer, the only way you can access them is with access links and passwords. Bigger SHEESH … they are all ON your computer.
You sit on a chair in the repair guy’s home office. Your heart goes thump as you hear him swearing and making very negative sounds under his breath. You calculate that you already owe the guy $150 and it sounds like it is about to add up to more.
An hour later he informs you that your computer is basically fried. The fan stopped working and you didn’t pay attention to the fact that your computer was over heating. He thinks (with lots of grimaces) that he MIGHT be able to rescue everything off your hard drive.
All you need to do is buy a new computer and when you are doing that, he will remove your current hard drive and do some diagnostics.
Have you tried setting up a new computer lately? Theoretically it is supposed to be easy. But it’s NOT. It can actually take weeks to load up everything you need, assuming you can find passwords and find your receipts so you can prove you actually bought and own what you need.
Are you panicked yet? You should be.
What Are YOU Taking For Granted?
Do you think your computer will live forever?
Are you assuming that ALL you have to do is connect your old hard drive to your new computer? Sorry to tell you that it just doesn’t work that way!
Have you ever actually tried to access the “cloud” version of your files?
How do you get into Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon AWS or Google Drive if you can’t remember your access keys or password? Yes the password saver program you use is in the clouds too, BUT it requires a huge long password and you were too busy to write it down. Woops.
Even if you can remember the password to Microsoft OneDrive with all it’s wonderful storage capacity, have you actually checked to make sure it is syncing properly. OH! THAT was what those weird messages were all about. Woops.
Your VA! She has a pile of information and passwords, all you have to do is ask her. Have you ever stopped to think what would happen if something happened to your VA?
What about the WAY you run your business? Yes you are getting loads of traffic from a good Google SEO strategy, but Google is very nasty and changes its algorithms without letting anyone know. Over the years there have been tens-of-thousands of companies who have had to shut their doors because of a Google algorithm change. I closed the SEO “branch” of MY company because I no longer wanted to deal with the constant changes.
You NEED to have traffic coming in from MORE than one source!
Is your advertising all in one basket?
Do you get a large percentage of traffic and business from advertising on a single site? What would you do if that site pulled your ads or suddenly closed its doors? If you’re taking a traffic stream for granted realize it may not be there tomorrow.
What about your website?
Technically …when was the last time you updated the dozens of plug-ins that your or your computer tech installed? When was the last time you updated to the latest version of WordPress, or to the latest version of your theme?
Is the information ON your website up to date? Have you read your web copy in the past year? Have you added relevant new information?
Asthetics … If your website looks like it is a hundred years old, you are losing business!
What about your domain name? Your website hosting?
Over the years I have had dozens of clients phoning in a total panic. Their website had either totally disappeared, or worse– had a nasty statement of non-payment where the home page used to be.
In addition to paying me “fast service” fees for finding out what happened and fixing it, they have to pay extra fees to get their site restored or extra fees to rescue their domain name. For one of my clients, a $15 annual renewal fee became a $275 restore fee.
What’s your competition doing?
Have they released a new product or service that will affect your revenue? You can’t assume that because you’ve been a dominant player in the past that it will continue. Assume your competition is doing something and act accordingly.
Are you taking your CLIENTS for granted?
When was the last time you phoned or emailed your clients just to say hello? If you haven’t heard from them for awhile, maybe they have started doing business with someone else. You might be surprised at how much business starts to come in after you connect with people you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
One day, when I was browsing though a local business magazine, I read an article that mentioned one of my clients. I phoned her up to congratulate her on the great coverage. A few days later she phoned back and gave me a new job. I’m sure that would NOT have happened if I hadn’t reached out first!
Are you panicked yet?
Here is a simple two point action plan:
1. You NEED to have access to all your software programs and apps (purchase information, membership links, SERIAL KEYS, passwords). Even if all your passwords are on your computer or in the clouds. print out a paper backup and keep it in a safe and private place. Better yet, keep a second paper or flash drive in a bank box or somewhere OFF your premises.
2. Create a yearly/monthly plan. Put important renewal dates on your calendar up to five years in the future.
- Computer maintenance (at least once a year — check the fan, blow dust out of vents, do performance diagnostics, speed everything up, get rid of unnecessary junk and unused programs)
- Backup schedule and protocol including your computer, your data storage, your website (check monthly)
- At the end of every month, go through all the programs, software and apps you have purchased. Add this to your paper lists.
- Know what information your VA has. Make sure YOU have the same info.
- Website updates (weekly, monthly) and maintenance (every six months).
- Website plugins and theme updates (back everything up before you update).
- Competitor survey (every three to six months).
- Client contact (every two to four months).
- Make a list of all the things that are unique to YOUR business and don’t take them for granted. A massage therapy business is vastly different than content management business. What are the essential components of YOUR business and what do you have to do to protect and keep those components up to date.
The good news is, that after you go through the process of plugging the holes, updating and documenting the first time … it will get a lot easier and will become PART of your business.
I learned my lessons the HARD WAY. My laptop was stolen.
It took me over a month of hair pulling frustration to get my business back to normal. I NEVER, EVER want to go through something similar again. Call me paranoid, but I have a backup computer stored in a safe place. The backup has all my programs installed and is synced to my cloud storage. Once a month I spend three to four hours testing and updating it. I also have GPS tracking embedded on both computers. Here’s the FREE (with paid options) tracking service I use: PreyProject.com
Don’t just read this and say uh huh … DO IT.
Yeah, I’m bossy … because I don’t ever want to say “I told you so.”