ICE, ICE Baby!

“911, what’s your emergency?”- E911 Operator

“I’m a small business owner and I don’t have any back-up…”

As a small business owner do you have a plan ICE – In Case of Emergency?

I currently operate my Virtual Assistant (VA) business as a solo entrepreneur. I provide direct services to my clients. At face value, I have no backup in case of emergency. Should an unexpected or dire circumstance arise, I have incorporated an ICE page in my Operations Manual listing referral options to trusted VA colleagues.

I heard some great advice at a networking event I recently attended. A program about estate planning was presented by Collin B. Scott, Financial Services Professional and Licensed Agent with New York Life Insurance Company. Collin offered practical and impactful tips that were applicable to both personal and business crisis planning and too good to not pass along.

Here are a few of my takeaways:

For safe-keeping documents, it’s best to store them in a fire-proof safe or safe deposit box though Collin cautioned not keeping a will and trust documents in a safe deposit box unless another appointed person has access in the event of the grantor’s death. Those documents as well as insurance policies need to be readily accessible and in a known location.

She further suggested, “If you don’t have a fire-proof safe on the premises, the refrigerator or freezer in the kitchen can serve as secure storage. Attach a note on the refrigerator door indicating that the documents may be found inside.” Store documents in an air-tight, leak-proof container. First responders are taught to check the refrigerator door for important medical and pharmacological information.

Notify someone where log ins/passwords are kept and routinely keep that password manager updated as well as including security questions and answers for the account.

Collin also addressed cloud-based file sharing, stressing the importance of determining ownership and disposition of documents contained in the shared drive.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) devotes a section to Disaster Planning for business. devotes a section to Preparedness Planning for Your Business along with a Business Continuity Planning Suite. Don’t wait for an illness or injury to leave you incapacitated temporarily or permanently. Be prepared. Set aside time to focus on creating your business ICE kit if you don’t have one already.

Create flow charts, checklists, draft communications to outline chain of custody, announcements, and continuity planning as part of your business ICE kit.

Don’t leave your business and customers in the lurch. Have a plan, safeguard the plan and even more importantly, tell key stakeholders and family members how to access the plan.

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