4 Step Process to Prepare for Your Unplanned Absence from Your BusinessFeb 20, 2023
What happens to your business when you’re a party of 1 and you get sick?
So sick that you can’t just push through it?
Prior to December, I’d been fortunate to not experience this, but now I can speak from experience.
I was diagnosed with Covid the second week of December. I thought I had the flu, which would have been bad enough, but no. I finally got Covid. Thankfully, the fever and body aches passed after a few days, but I had a terrible cough, congestion, and low energy for a few weeks. Then, just when I thought I was getting better, I started having trouble breathing. Several doctors appointments, medicines and supplements later, I’m still not back to 100%.
I’m not complaining. I know I’m fortunate that it wasn’t worse. But it’s still scary.
And it got me thinking…
- About my finances
- About how my business is structured
- About the long-term impacts of an extended recovery
- About how fortunate I am that a two + month illness hasn’t ruined me
I had to make tough choices about what I could reasonably accomplish in my condition.
Top priority for my business was making sure I fulfilled my obligations to my clients.
I left my lead gen running and struggled to even keep up with that. Thankfully, the company I work with does a great job in keeping things organized.
I didn’t have the energy for it.
Commenting on LinkedIn posts and creating my own posts?
But I’m still here.
I haven’t given up.
But I am looking at things differently.
My priorities have definitely changed!
Risk assessment is important when we’re trying to protect our business.
So is creating a supportive savings plan.
But do we make these as much a priority as we should?
As business owners, we are used to fighting the odds.
To thinking we can overcome anything.
And maybe we can.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt.
Over the last year, I’ve seen so many posts and articles about how we need to focus on self-care, plan time away from the business to relax and reset. I’ve written a few myself. But the difference is those are planned activities.
Getting sick isn’t planned.
Healing through an extended recovery isn’t planned.
So, how do we plan for the unpredictable in our lives?
#1 – Know Your Cash Flow
Do you know how much you need to collect every month to cover your personal expenses, business expenses, and tax liabilities?
If not, this is where you start.
I break mine out into four sections:
- Personal expenses paid via cash/checking/savings
- Personal debt service payments
- Business expenses paid via cash/checking/savings
- Business debt service payments
Then, it’s time to look at income sources.
Make a list in Excel of all your income sources and when you expect to collect.
- W2 income
- Business / 1099 income
- Child support / alimony
- Other income
You might have noticed I keep using the term “collect”.
For this exercise, knowing your total revenue is nice, but when we’re talking about cash flow, we’re concerned with cash in and cash out.
#2 – Analyze Your Savings
Do you have enough in savings to cover 3 – 6 months of income interruption?
If you couldn’t work at all, how much of your income would go away?
If you had to cut back on how much you could do, what would your income look like?
The difference between your normal expected collections and the amount above is what you need to save for. Six months’ worth of savings is what is usually recommended. This may seem a little overwhelming at first, but savings should be a line item in your budget.
If your resources are tight, save what you can while you look for ways to increase your revenue to cover the savings shortfall.
#3 – Reduce Business Dependence on You
My business is 100% dependent upon me showing up. Many of you reading this are probably in the same situation.
And you might be thinking “There’s no way I can afford to do that…”
That may be true in the short term, but you can build it into your long term plan and make it a reality.
Here are some things you could do:
- Create on demand recorded courses
- Create group programs to consolidate your time into smaller chunks
- Think about other ways you could deliver your services in a reduced time capacity and still provide value to your customers
- Find a business partner or hire a manager who could support the business while you are away
- Think about people in your network who might be willing to assist on a short-term basis to bridge the gap
Anything that you can put in place to ensure your customers continue to receive excellent service and support ongoing revenue collection while you are away from the business will reduce your financial stress and improve the strength of your business.
#4 – Create an Income Interruption Plan
Handling an illness or helping someone in your family who is ill is difficult enough without worrying about what you would do if it happens.
Your plan will include:
- Your cash flow assessment
- Your savings assessment & plan to meet your goals
- Your “dependence on you” reduction plan
- Your “what to do and when” plan
Your “what to do and when” plan will include things like:
- Who do you need to notify? What do you need to tell them?
- Who will handle ABC responsibilities while you are away?
- What will you still be responsible for?
- What expenses, if any, can be deferred for a period of time if necessary? How would you do this?
- How will your support team communicate with you?
- Who can act on your behalf if you are unable to? What powers of attorney need to be put in place to protect you and your business?
- Schedule to review this plan regularly and update as needed
We can’t predict when we will get sick, when family might need us, or when something else could happen to our business that could impact our income. But we can prepare ourselves in the event that something does happen. We can set the plan in motion and focus on what's most important - getting better!
Need more help with cash flow? Check out these articles: