Friday, June 3, 2011

911…Emergency Business Plan

So, last week I was hit with a very scary family disaster. Jimmy, my husband and avid motocross* rider, was in an accident at the track. He ended up getting rushed to shock trauma (in Baltimore, MD, almost an hour away) with a partial collapsed lung, lacerated liver and internal bleeding. Needless to say, as a wife, I was terrified out of my mind. And, after the first 24 hours of shock, various ER treatments (including a chest, yea), and with reassurance from both doctors and Jimmy, my mind turned to my business. As a microbusiness owner, I went into "Business Disaster" panic mode.

How was I going to get work completed (mind you, the week was jammed packed with multiple LARGE deadlines)? How was I going to communicate with clients? How would I mentor my brand-spankin new employee (who was originally scheduled to start working the Monday of our ER visit)? How could I balance being with my husband during recovery while still maintaining some sort of business presence? How was I going to "kill" my husband (after he recovered, of course) for crashing his stupid dirtbike…again. But, I digress.

Luckily, Jimmy recovered much faster than the doctors originally anticipated and his shock trauma stay only lasted about 3 days. And luckily I have some wonderful clients who were more than understanding. Plus, I had a few other things that helped out during this crisis:

The Kalico Makeshift Disaster Plan
1. iphone. Ironically, we had only gotten our iphones a week prior to "the incident". I definitely learned how to use that sucker quickly. I was able to group text jimmy's status updates to family and friends while emailing and responding to clients. Not to mention, the one and only night I didn't stay at the hospital, I was reassured with a few face chats with Jim as well.

2. G-RAID mini. Again, I had only just set up my new G-RAID portable mini backup drive a week or two prior. Boy, was I glad I had taken the recommendation from another designer/programmer friend! Just a simple unhook of a firewire cable and I had all my work with me. I was able to set-up a small makeshift office for two days: laptop, G-RAID and me!

3. Responsible Employee. Yet again, the timing seemed uncanny. As I mentioned, my new (and very first) employee started the week we were at the hospital. I was fortunate that my new hire, who had interned with me the previous summer, was already familiar with some of Kalico's clients. She was (and still is) also responsible, trustworthy, and someone I could rely on to work from home for a few hours per day until things got back to a normal schedule. How's that for a job crash course!

4. Support System. While I knew Jimmy and I had a wonderful personal support system (both coming from close families and a tight network of friends), I was also reminded of what an amazing business support system and network I have as well. Clients were understanding of late deadlines, and actually asking how they could help me! Colleagues from one of my organizations took care of my responsibilities, cards came from business contacts, and I even had another design firm offer to help with a job or two if needed! It was humbling and reassuring to know so many people were in my corner! I am one damn lucky business owner!

So, to conclude:
1. I'm am SO glad this incident is over and my husband is on the mend for a quick recovery.
2. As a graphic design business owner, invest in an iphone (or comparable smart phone) as well as a good, portable backup drive.
3. Work hard to surround yourself with other talented, supportive and caring business contacts—be it employees or fellow entreprenuers.
4. Don't let your husbands ride dirtbikes (I'm kidding...or am I?)

**To learn more about motocross, check out this article featuring my husband in the Spring Issue of Find It Frederick magazine!

1 comment:

Jennifer Gerlock said...

Kim, I had no idea! I'm so glad your husband is doing better. I would have been out of my mind.

On the other hand - sounds like you have really got it together. This is a terrific lesson for all business owners. Thanks for sharing!