**Prefer to read… here is the transcript**

What if disaster struck and suddenly, overnight, you could not work on your business?
What would happen to your customers?
Those out standing orders, inquiries……

OMG can you imagine your latest customer excitedly waiting for their order, watching for the courier, and it just doesn’t arrive, they don’t get any replies to emails and …..well we have a responsibility to our customers to make sure that doesn’t happen.   A responsibility to be able to let them know what the heck is happening, even in an emergency.

While I truly hope this is a situation you are never ever faced with, it is one which we need to plan for.  Most creative business owners are one-man bands, which means if something happens then there is no-one around to explain or manage our business.  This could be a reputation killer, the end of our business and all because it is easier to bury our head in the sand!

I really hope you never need this, but I think you need to you take some time to create an In Case Of Emergency plan.

A plan would give you peace of mind, and mean you know that whatever happens you aren’t leaving a customer waiting for the post man.

The plan needs to be as simple as possible and easy to find too.

Nominate a family member, colleague or friend, and ask them if in they could help you in the event of an emergency.   Basically if for some reason you cannot get to a computer, or access online at all, and it will be that way for several days.

Make sure they know where they can find your ‘instructions’.

This person will need access to passwords and potentially customer data, so you need to trust them implicitly.  You have a responsibility to look after all the data you have – so chose carefully!

There is no set way to create a plan but my advice is to ensure that you have an easy to find (for your nominated helper) list of your business assets.

e.g. Website and host login/password

Mailchimp and password
Marketplace accounts
Social Media Accounts
Your up to date order record – this is important especially if you have outstanding orders as, depending on the circumstances, those customers may need to be contacted individually.

You also need to set out what you need to happen.
This is difficult as we are trying to pre-empt a situation which could mean you are out of action for a week, or for forever.

For example:

For longer than 1 week – contact all orders dues in next two weeks.  This will vary with how you keep your records.  Realising that someone else may need to understand how you work without you being there to explain it, means you might need to make a few changes.

Notice on social media.

For longer than two weeks:  set maintenance page on website – with instructions if needed.

For ever – refund all orders with an apology.

You get the idea.

I pray you will never need this plan, but we owe it to our customers.

When a customer places an order or buys from us, they do so expecting to receive something wonderful in return.  Whether it is a beautifully handmade product, a stunning piece of art, or in my case delivering online marketing help and support for creative business owners.

If circumstances mean we cannot deliver on our promise, then we owe our customers an explanation and depending on circumstances maybe refunds too.

Marketing is all about communication.  Communicating what you do.  Communicating how to buy.  Communicating about how you can help your customers.  So make sure in the event of an emergency we need to ensure communication doesn’t just stop.

This is something most small creative business owners don’t ever think about.  Or they put it off till another day. Or they just hope it will never happen to them.  I get it.  It is hard to do.

But the moment you start selling your amazing products and services you have taken on a responsibility to deliver.  So get it done.

Share this video with your creative business friends.  Make sure they have set up their ICE plan.

Get your In Case Of Emergency plan in place, and have peace of mind that your customers will always be looked after.

 

Join Nicola for marketing chat every Tuesday about 9.30am

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