If we’ve learned anything from 2020’s global pandemic, it’s that life can throw some serious curveballs our way – curveballs that can drastically affect our business. As we recover and prepare to open up shop once again, it’s important to learn as much as we can and proactively prepare our businesses to withstand hardships in the future.
Texas photographer Gaby Caskey recently went through the process of creating an emergency plan for her business: a written document that would allow someone else to carry on her responsibilities should she ever become unable to work for an extended period of time, or indefinitely. We asked Gaby all about her emergency plan method and had her share some tips for this process with us. We’re so glad to have her expertise!
What purpose does a business emergency plan serve?
“Your business’s emergency plan serves as the roadmap needed to continue your responsibilities in the event you have to step away from your business for a while or permanently. While emergency plans are most thought of for life or death situations, they’re also needed in many minor instances: injuries, having to take care of an ill family member, relocating cities, etc.”
Walk us through the basics of creating an emergency plan. What are the must-have elements?
“When creating an emergency plan, it’s best to start by writing out your business’ workflow for each service you offer. In the workflow, you’ll write out every touch point you have with a client, as well as when that step needs to take place. I have my workflow built on HoneyBook, my client management system. Having a CRM that can automate your workflow not only helps in the day-to-day running of your business, but also in the event of an emergency.”
“After your workflow is in place, gather all of the sites and log-in information for each software used during your workflow and write those out, too. Lastly, gather the names and contact information of 3-5 other creatives in your area that can step in as associates to cover your events. These three things will help best equip whoever is helping run your business in the event of an emergency.”
Where is the best place to keep this plan and why? Who should have knowledge of it?
“I suggest keeping both a physical and online copy of your emergency plan. The printed out version can be kept at home in a safe, your desk, or another location your spouse, employee, or family member knows about in the event they need to access it. When storing an online copy, you can use sites like Dropbox or Google Drive, though I suggest keeping your passwords on just your physical copy or password-protecting your online file.”
How often do you recommend updating an emergency plan?
“I’d suggest reviewing your emergency plan at the start and end of every season in your business. You’ll be able to update your list of Associates, and make adjustments to your plan based on what worked well that season (or needs changing) in your business. You’ll be able to see the cracks in your workflow and what needs to be strengthened to streamline the process.”
Any other tips for a wedding business owner wanting to create their own emergency plan?
“Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to create an emergency plan. You’ve worked hard for your business and clients, so protect the legacy you’ve built!”
Although it’s something no business owner wants to think about, having an emergency plan in place should be a no-brainer and a non-negotiable moving forward in today’s business world. A plan like this protects not only your clients and your assets, but your brand, as well, safeguarding the business you’ve built for years to come. Thanks again to Gaby Caskey Photography for sharing her wisdom!
Gaby Caskey is a Texas photographer who specializes in capturing weddings and is passionate about documenting the start of her clients’ legacy. Learn more about Gaby’s business here!