The COVID-19 pandemic has required many business operators to test their agility to the extreme. There have been numerous stories about retailers supporting their community members with supplies to stay safe at home and providing frontline workers with supplies to stay safe in other essential sectors. Supplying equipment and goods to customers to help them be prepared for emergencies is one key role retailers have played during this time.
But how many of you have stopped to think about preparing your own business for emergencies? Even if you have a will or trust, those may only account for personal assets, not business operations.
If you’re not ready to take on a formal succession plan, at least take time to create the framework so your business can operate in the event you need to take extended time off for an unexpected illness or injury. You should have policies, procedures and people in place so decisions can be made without your approval.
Take the following steps to create an “in-a-pinch” succession plan to give yourself, your staff and your family peace of mind. While you’re putting this plan together, you may end up finding the person who could be your successor, and you can identify people who can take on more responsibility than you originally thought.
Appoint another person who can sign checks, transfer funds company accounts and understands the basic accounting for your operation. Tip: Get a refresher in accounting with the Basic Retail Accounting training program from the North American Retail Hardware Association at nrha.org/online-training.
Have additional staff in place for inventory and employee management, including ordering, hiring and scheduling. Tip: In the same way you have fire drills, test your process before it needs to be executed in a pinch. Knowing where there may be hurdles can help streamline it and avoid complications later.
Be sure your family knows who your secondary people are, especially if your family isn’t involved in the business. Send notices to banks, vendors, attorneys and other advisers so they know who may contact them in your stead. Tip: Download a template letter here to fill out and send to your advisers.