eCommerce Made Easy

Building a Resilient Business: Navigating Personal Crisis as an Entrepreneur

February 20, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 42
eCommerce Made Easy
Building a Resilient Business: Navigating Personal Crisis as an Entrepreneur
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Show Notes Transcript

Is your business prepared for sudden absences? From personal loss to surprise illnesses, can your business stay afloat when you or your team members are navigating emergencies outside of work? In today’s episode, I will share my personal experiences with unexpected absences and what systems you need to have in place to keep your business afloat, even when you aren’t there. 

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Carrie Saunders:

If you're a regular listener and are listening to our episodes as they come out, then you probably know that I have been sick for the past several weeks and I was actually well enough last week to record an episode. It was the first time I'd ever missed an episode was a week before that, when I was super sick. I was actually in the ER for that and so this episode is not going to be on the technical side. I know we talk a lot of tech here, but we're going to talk about business here and we're going to talk about what do you do when something comes up like you have a family emergency, you're super sick or you have a death in the family. This is kind of like a sensitive subject to talk about, but something that's on my mind, and I'll tell you why as we come back to this episode here in a moment after the introduction. Welcome to the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host Carrie Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine month old my main goal To help others. Now, with over 20 years in the Ecommerce building industry and even more than that in web development, I have seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and to easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned Ecommerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place, so sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of Ecommerce together.

Carrie Saunders:

Welcome back to this week's episode of the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, as I said in the Carrie Saunders, so this is something that's a bit on my mind right now and, just so you know if my voice sounds strange, it's because I've been sick with the flu starting January 31st. I'm recording this for the episode that releases on February 20th, and I was sick for over for about two weeks and still recovering even last week when I went back to work. And why this is top of mind is this season of the year is the time that I I lost my mom six years ago in in January, and then I lost my dad two years ago to the day that this episode releases on February 20th, and then also coming off of being sick for over two weeks, which is probably the longest I've ever taken off work. I actually took off a total of eight business days, and that included a couple of weekends of recovery in there and I still wasn't myself when I came back to work. So the reason I want to talk to you about this is that it is a really important subject as a business owner no matter what your business serves, who they serve, being able to handle and adapt whenever something comes up like this.

Carrie Saunders:

You know the my mother's death six years ago was pretty different. I'll just say it that way, to be short, because our relationship was not typical, but it still was very hard on me. There were so many unanswered questions and so many things going through my mind, and she was what I consider young. She was in her 60s when she died. I think she was like 62 or 63. So not really that old when you really think about how long typically people live anymore, and it was. It was really difficult. It was certainly wasn't a surprise. She was not. She was not one to take care of herself, but, like I said, it was still very difficult and it was just. It's really a great way to see that your team really stands up and takes care of things when you're gone.

Carrie Saunders:

So the whole point of this episode is I want to talk to you about how you can set yourself up for success when unexpected things like this happen. For example, I have an awesome team. Many of them have been with me for 10 years or more and they just really are just an awesome team. We try to create such a community in our business. We try to really look after each other from a business perspective and where we have the connection, of course we look after each other from more of a kind of a family perspective too. But I want to, I want to kind of caution you there, you know you, you want to make sure that your business place is is business and doesn't cross too much into the friend realm, because then that can complicate things in the long run. But we are all human and we do care for each other. You know, from a business perspective as well as from a personal perspective. I feel like we all have that you know, caring there for them, and so I feel like if you have a business and let's say you have maybe no employees yet, then I want you to keep these things in mind as you grow.

Carrie Saunders:

Or if you do have some employees or even some subcontractors, really think about what systems do you need in place so that you, the business owner can be absent for a week, two weeks, maybe even up to a month. What, what systems do you need to make sure that the business doesn't crumble and fall down? You're gonna want to some standard operating procedures and you can look this up on the internet for some like templates of it. I've gotten one from one of my mentors, Amy Porterfield, and one of her classes. I got some standard operating procedures templates and they're really great because they really spell out why are we doing this task, what it is it for and then the exact steps to follow to do the task.

Carrie Saunders:

This is something that we have had in our business. When we first started on, it was, but it wasn't written down, so that was kind of the problem. It was all in our heads that we were such a small group, we didn't really need it to be written down, although we really should have. And that has been something I've been working on in the over the past year is, as a business that's over 20 years old, we have lots of processes and lots of systems and some of them are old and need to be revised and we need to do things differently. So I'm we're working as a group to really document standard operating procedures.

Carrie Saunders:

For example, let's say, somebody comes on board and hosts with us. You know, let's say, one of our main hosting onboarding people is out, either on vacation or sick, etc. What are the little steps? I know I can do that, but I'm not going to possibly remember all the little tiny steps. So what do you need to document in your business? What are the critical things? So I challenge you, after listening to this podcast episode, I want you to go through and write down what are those critical things that need to happen each day or each week to make sure the business is going For us. For example, we need to be doing quotes to our customers and responding and making sure that we respond to the timing parameter and get them a quote out.

Carrie Saunders:

Now here's something that actually happened. So when I was sick, at the same time the other person that does quotes was on a vacation for them. One of the weeks, for the full week that I was actually out, I was out a half, you know a little bit over a half a week and then a full week. So we didn't have quotes for almost a week and a half because of that and, honestly, I was so sick I completely forgot that this staff member asked for that week off, and I didn't even realize it till the Friday of that week, and so I had to you know, of course apologize and let the people waiting for quotes know what was going on, so that they knew that we weren't like ignoring them on purpose. But if I had a standard operating procedure in place for that, which is one of the ones I don't have, I could have at least gotten one of our staff members. They may not have been able to do the quote, but they probably could have gotten at least enough information so that when we came back to work, we could do the quote more quickly the person and I who do quotes. So whenever you experience something like this, where you're unexpectedly out, that's really going to light your eyes up to what's really needed, and so it would be better though right if I had already been prepared for that before it happened.

Carrie Saunders:

Same thing goes for, you know, two years ago, when I lost my father. I was up in Columbus, which is the capital of Ohio. That's where some of our main major hospitals are, and the hospital down in our area wasn't going to be able to handle his case. They had him for a little bit, but they just couldn't handle what was going on, and so I was up in Columbus for several days. Sometimes I would drive back home it's only about an hour and 15 minutes away from my home and my stepmother would stay all night with him and then we were trading back and forth. But that was a lot of disrupted work One mentally, of course, because my father was in his last days, but also because there was a lot of driving. You know, there was a lot of just moving parts in being there for him and being there for my stepmother.

Carrie Saunders:

And then, of course, you know, I had the, the grief recovery after that, which you know I probably didn't take enough time off for that. And me, that's just kind of my personality. I'm working, it's something I am working on. But when you really got to think about these things even though they're either a bit morbid to think about or they're just something that I expected to think about what are those things you need to be doing to make sure that one your customers know that something is going on and that you will be back to them just as soon as you can? That was one thing that my staff did great on was letting customers know hey, carrie's out when I was sick, carrie's out, very sick, and she will be back with you as soon as possible. And then, as I got sicker, because I had several things stack on top of on top of just having the flu, I had several things stack up behind that health wise some mistakes were made. Let's just say that with with some diagnosis afterwards and you know my staff was really great is saying, hey, sorry, she's still out. You know we expected her to be back by now and they just updated the customer and we've talked about this in our customer trust series too and that being upfront and clear with your customers is very important to continue that trust.

Carrie Saunders:

And I feel, like all the people that I have seen, that I've looked at the communication with them in this situation where I was out. It seemed like they were, you know, very patient, they were understanding and they appreciated being known upfront, what was going on and knowing they weren't being ignored. So, especially if you're a service provider or something like that, you need to make sure you have things in place. Or if you sell products and cert, you know, sell products you're going to want to make sure that that your customers know why there might be like a shipping delay, for example, if something unexpected comes up, like, you know, a major illness or a death in the family or something like that.

Carrie Saunders:

So this is going to be a little bit of a short episode because my voice still hopefully you can probably hear it is not real strong still and it's been like three weeks now almost, but it's just something that I find that's really important and with my father's passing anniversary coming up on February 20th when this one releases you know that's that's very high on my mind also coming off of being sick, and it's just just something we won't always think about until we're in that situation. So I hope this is helpful to make you really think about that. What are the things I need in place to be successful when I'm not in my business? And it also helps you take vacations a bit better too my staff has gotten so great over the many years and helping us unplug as much as possible when we go on vacation. So making sure you have backup people, whether it's subcontractors or relatives or somebody who can access your stuff in a you know that you trust in a secure way that they can update your customers and clients Super important in situations like this.

Carrie Saunders:

So that's all I have for this week's episode of the Ecommerce Made Easy podcast. I appreciate you sticking with me and with my weak voice. Hopefully the recording comes out okay and you can still hear me. All right. One thing I do wanna start doing is I want to answer questions that you have. So find me on social media just look up Carrie Saunders, ohio, and you'll probably find me. And or you can drop us an email at podcast at bcsengineering. com, and I'd love to feature you in your question on our podcast. So find us on social. You can find us under BCS engineering or BCSE solutions, or you can find me as Carrie Saunders on social, and we'd love to hear from you. What questions do you have that you would like us to feature on the podcast and answer for you? That's all we have for this week and we will see you next week.