small business emergency

How to Handle Your Next Small Business Emergency

By Susan Payton

The thing about emergencies is that they’re never convenient. Just last week, I had to migrate my websites to a new server. In the process, over 1,000 blog posts lost their images. So I’m left scrambling to add back images to all of those posts!

Your emergency might be that your computer gets fried or your only employee quit. Whatever the headache, we all have something in common: we can’t afford for our businesses to be put on hold while we deal with the situation. I’ve learned a few things with my small business emergency, and wanted to share the lessons with you.

Figure Out the Best Plan of Action

When I realized that my posts were essentially naked without images, I panicked. After a flurry of emails back and forth with my IT company, I realized they were not magically going to reappear. I needed a solution. Once I made a plan (download 1,000+ images, and stat!), I felt better and could start executing.

Even the best planner can’t predict an emergency, so you can’t prep this step in advance. What you can do is keep a cool head and ask yourself: what’s the best way to amend this issue?

Get Help…or Find the Time

I’m lucky in that I have an amazing blog editor who is always ready to assist, so I asked her to spend a couple of hours on the project. That, it turned out, was just a drop in the bucket of what I needed, so I cleared my schedule to work on updating the photos on my own.

We tend to think we’re the only ones who can handle important stuff in our companies, but it’s really not true (sorry!). Delegating tasks, especially in a stressful situation, can clear it up faster and let you continue to focus on running your business.

That being said, sometimes you can’t afford to shell out tons of dough to have someone else fix it. That’s fine too, but make sure you can dedicate the time it will take to fix the situation, otherwise it just doesn’t go away.

Have a Rainy Day Fund

Not all emergencies are financial ones, but most could be improved with a little cash. To that end, sock away money so that you have funds to cover hiring help, replacing that computer, or whatever it takes to get you back to 100%.

Learn from the Emergency

As I slogged away on my blog, I realized I really needed to put the time into it on my own because there were a lot of old links that were dead and needed removing. So while I wasn’t happy that this issue had popped up, I was glad in a way, because it forced me to spend time updating and improving my blog.

Where’s the silver lining for you? Maybe you don’t have to put up with that slow computer anymore (or that slow employee) and can benefit from a newer, faster model (of either kind).

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Susan Payton
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She's written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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