Starting a commercial cleaning business in 2009 with my husband, was no easy task. Though things did seem to fall into place rather quickly for us, I was very abruptly thrust into the role of bookkeeping, payroll, taxes, scheduling, and office administration. It was quite a challenge with my three very small children at home.
Over the last seven years if there is one key thing I have learned about running a small business it’s -don’t be too valuable you can’t be replaced.
If you have ever been in the position of giving birth in a hospital and literally telling your husband you don’t have time for this, because you have to get payroll done and mailed out by Monday, then you know what I mean by that! I was just released from the hospital with my fifth baby and had to go straight to work getting payroll mailed out. Why?
Because I never took the time to train my husband or any other employee how to do what I do. I had a moment where I thought, what if something happens to me? What would he do?
When you own your own business you know you aren’t going to actually replace yourself, but you should really be proactive in training others to do what you do. Because what if you get injured, sick or have a family emergency? You need your business to continue as usual in your temporary absence. Not only is it a stress relief for you, but it’s a much safer way of doing business. In our line of work (the service industry), we don’t get holidays or days off. An office always needs to be cleaned, and we always need to be ready.
Ways to Always Be Prepared… Just in Case
- Train someone you trust to do some of what you do. Whether it’s payroll and scheduling (like me), client relations, or whatever, you need to have someone else lined up to jump in, in case you just can’t do it.
- Get a disability policy immediately! No business owner should be without a disability policy. If you can’t work, and your business can’t go on without you, then you better have something lined up that will pay the bills. Policies are cheaper than you probably think, and are equally as comforting as a life insurance policy.
- Know how to automate systems you currently do manually. If you do your own in house payroll, you should have on-hand the information for a local payroll service that you could call and get setup at the drop of a hat.
- Organize your files, passwords, logins and account info. If you are a mess organizationally then hire someone to come and help you get your papers together. Keep a handwritten log of all of the pertinent login information someone would need to “do what you do”. Make sure your files are labelled, and easy to find. Keeping a calendar with your bills, and expenses and To-Do’s is really helpful in a last minute situation.
Being a business owner is both greatly rewarding and tremendously stressful. Help to take the burden off of yourself, by having others lined up and ready to go, if you are out of commission. It will be both a comfort to you, and a relief to the one who is forced to temporarily wear your shoes.