In my 30+ years of using technology, I’ve learned that it will fail at the most inopportune moments—an Atari (80’s gaming console) on the fritz before the big neighborhood match, my TV dying before the series finale of SG-1, or my computer’s refusal to start on the day of an important deadline.
There are 3 certainties in life: death, taxes, and technology failure. So when your business is dependent on technology to run, you need contingency plans in place for the inevitable failure/breakdown that will come at the most inconvenient time.
1. Internet. What do you do when you’ve lost your Internet connection? I’ve lost my Internet connection on a few occasions. Rather than hauling my laptop to the nearest cafe (with an unsecured connection), I crank up the old dial-up. That’s right, dial-up. Dial-up Internet access is painfully slow compared to cable or DSL, but it’s better than no Internet. Although my laptop is a fine computer, I prefer to work on my desktop in the comfort of my office. Using dial-up I can still deal with email and view websites or blogs. At Chaos To Clarity we have an annual 10-hour Budget Dial-Up account as our backup Internet.
2. Computer. Even if your computer has been trouble-free, you need to plan for the worst —total loss of your computer. In addition to our desktops, we have laptops. They come in particularly handy when my business partner’s Windows desktop loses its mind and the operating system has to be reinstalled. You may not have the budget for a second computer but at least you can develop a contingency plan so that you are not dead in the water.
3. Data Loss. If your computer were to be taken over by a virus and fail, how would you access your business data? You need back-ups and/or online data storage. At Chaos To Clarity, we do both. We maintain backups of our computers on external drives and we use online CRM and project management from 37signals. No matter what happens to our computers and the data on them, we have immediate access to our online data and quick access to our backups.
4. Printer. If our main printer goes down, our fax machine will take its place. It’s not a color printer like our Xerox but it works. If your printer stops working and you have to print out a proposal what will you do? Pull out your old printer or run to the local copy shop?
Technology breakdowns are stressful, but having contingency plans in place reduces the stress and downtime for your business.