Let's face it - we live in uncertain times. On any given day you may have a power outage, your Internet connection may be down, your child could wake up sick or you may be faced with some type of natural disaster. Hiccups and disruptions in your work flow COULD be detrimental to your business. However, that doesn't have to be the case.

Taking a proactive approach to preparing yourself for the unexpected you can minimize the effect on your business. By having a contingency plan, you are establishing yourself as a business professional just like any large corporation. If done correctly, your clients won't even know you had an issue unless you decide to tell them.

So what exactly is a contingency plan?

A contingency plan is a process you have for your business to protect yourself and your data from being lost during an emergency. Losing data would be detrimental to your business not only for the information that you would have to recreate, but also the violation of your clients' private affairs.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your business:

1. Backup Your Computer - Without a doubt, this is THE most important thing you need to do. I personally have an external hard drive that backs up everything on my computer (programs, data, documents, etc.) I have it automatically set to back up once a day in the evening. Then, I have a secondary online backup system that actually saves my data as I create it. I am completely covered in any emergency, like an earthquake. All I have to do is grab my hard drive and I am all set - I don't even need my computer! Even if I wasn't able to do that, because all of my computer data is backed up on line, I could access ALL of my business/client files from any computer with an Internet connection. Then, I can plug in my hard drive in any computer and continue working.
2. Go paperless - One of the benefits to working virtually is having a myriad of online solutions for you to run your business. By minimizing your paper trail and scanning all receipts and important documents that are included in your backup systems. Take advantage of the many web-based software applications available to communicate with your clients and store/share information. In the event of an emergency, your clients will still have access to critical information and you'll be able to access your client files from any computer with an Internet connection.
3. Have a buddy or emergency business partner - If you were to get sick or put in the hospital unexpectedly, you probably won't be able to contact all your clients to let them know what's going on. So having a buddy or business partner that knows your business, who you're working with and how to get a hold of them can come in handy in a pinch. Your buddy may even be able to step in and do some work for you if there is a critical deadline that needs to be met. While your buddy or business partner may not know everything you do, they can help you in an emergency.

Building a contingency plan helps to prepare you and your client in the event of an emergency. By demonstrating you are proactive with your business, your clients will have a new found respect for you as a partner and business owner. Plus, you may even be setting a good example for them in their business.

Do you have a contingency plan? If yes, what have you done to prepare for emergencies? Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment on the blog!

Author's Bio: 

Sydni Craig-Hart, The VA Success Coach™, is Founder of Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant!, a company dedicated to providing Administrative Professionals with the support, tools and resources they need to create a highly successful, profitable Virtual Assistant business. Visit www.VASuccessSecrets.com to listen to Sydni’s FREE audio class “How to Start and Grow A Profitable Virtual Assistant Business ...In Less Than Six Months”.