Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

Do You Have a Disaster/Recovery Plan?

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

by Terry Green

Do You Have a Disaster/Recovery Plan?

With the recent onslaught of ice storms and flooding happening all over the US and Canada, as well as the hurricanes that ripped through Florida and the south earlier this year, many people are finding themselves faced with tremendous losses regarding both their homes and their offices. Most people have some type of homeowner’s and business insurance to help rebuild and replace personal and business items, but what about your business records and critical files? If your office was destroyed today, would you be able to continue serving your clients and running your business, or would your business come to a complete halt? If you were sick or incapacitated, would anyone else know where to find important files on your computer? Is everything documented so someone could fill in for you until you were able to resume working?

Terence Kierans, Principal, Cyberspace Virtual Services, Western Australia made the following statement regarding a disaster/recovery plan while participating in an International Virtual Women’s Chamber of Commerce (IVWCC) Meet & Greet. He said . . . “In essence it is an essential part of Business Continuity Management (BCM).This is not just about disaster recovery, crisis management, risk management or about IT. It is demonstrably a business issue. It is definitely an area where proactivity is the keyword – as in not shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

It enables you to identify and manage those risks which could result in:

- Inaility to maintain services to your clients.

- Damage to your image or professional reputation.

- Failure to protect your business assets, tangible and intangible.

- Business control failure.

- Failure to meet legal or regulatory requirements.”

He then quoted The Business Continuity Institute, “Business Continuity Management is the act of anticipating incidents which will affect critical functions and processes for the organization and ensuring that it responds to any incident in a planned and rehearsed manner.”

His comments sure made a lot of sense to me. Here are some of the things I thought of when considering a plan for my business.

• Take a complete inventory of my hardware; know what I have.

• Know where my CDs (software, backups) are located and keep them in a safe place.

• Know where the licenses are stored (keep a list as well).

• Take regular backups and test them occasionally. Make sure they are readable and that they are backing up the data I need.

• Rotate my backup media and always keep a copy off-site.

• Keep critical files in a safe place.

• Keep passwords, user names, etc. in a safe place. Document what I have.

• Keep a list of all clients, vendors, and who I use to help run my business, with current phone numbers, contacts and account numbers

• Know what my insurance will cover; keep contact names and policy numbers handy.

• Have an alternate place to conduct business in case of an office disaster.

• Have someone in place to fill in for me if I became ill or incapacitated in any way.

• Make sure I’m not the only one that knows all of the above information!

This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to consider when putting together a disaster/recovery or business continuity plan, but it should help to get you going in the right direction. Consider your individual business and what you need to do to stay in business should something unforseen happen.

So keep in mind, If disaster struck tomorrow, would you have everything in place to get everything back up and running in a short period time, or would your business be stopped dead in its tracks?

Copyright 2005 Terry L. Green, GVA

Terry L. Green, is a Graduate Virtual Assistant with more than 25 years of experience in executive and administrative support. Established in 1991, Fastype provides administrative support to small businesses, mobile executives, professional speakers, and life and business coaches. Terry produces “virtual work that matters” for her clients, and gives them the “gift of time” so that they can spend their valuable time on the more important issues that increase their bottom line and grow their businesses.

This article may be reprinted in its entirety as long as the copyright and bio remain intact, all links are active, and a copy is sent to the author. Terry can be reached by email: or via her website

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Do you get butterflies when you go to networking events?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

You’re driving down the road. You’ve been talking to yourself all the way. You’ve been telling yourself you can do this. You keep running your “elevator speech” through your head. You keep saying “I can talk to these people. I can explain my business if they ask me what I do. I can walk up to people and introduce myself.”

Then, you get to your destination. You’re pumped and ready to go! You walk in the room and there’s 50 other people there. You either freeze and wait to see if someone comes up to you, look around to see if you know someone so you’re a little more comfortable, or you give up and leave. Why?

Don’t you chit-chat with people when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store? Do you “pipe in” a conversation at a store if you know you have the answer to what someone is asking? Why, then, can’t we talk to 50 other people about our business? Is it because it’s 50 people we don’t know or because we’re just not sure what we should say?

Put a smile on your face and feel confident. You are good at what you do and your business is worthwhile. Be excited about that! Don’t be afraid. If you show your afraid or have a problem explaining what your Virtual Assistant business is about, it will show. Clients aren’t going to come knocking on your door or calling you if you show you’re afraid and can’t explain your business to them. They want to give their business to people that are confident so feel confident.

When they ask you about your business, explain to them what you can do….PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets, Websites, SEO, newsletters, article submissions, press release submissions, article and/or press release writing, logo’s, cold-calling, etc. Whatever it is, tell them. Hold your head up high when you tell them too. Don’t mumble.

Just remember that it’s up to you. If you think positive and show them you can assist their business, they will call. They will beat down your door to be your next client. They will, in turn, recommend you to others. If you fumble with your words or freeze at the door, how are they going to know you and your business? How are you going to gain those clients?

It’s your decision. It’s your destiny. It’s your choice as to which fork in the road you’re going to take.

Is it time to clean up your office?

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Before you read any further, look around your office/desk. Now STOP! Is your desktop clean? Do you have files or papers in your “inbox”? Where’s your calendar? Have you looked to see what you need to accomplish today, tomorrow, or next week? Do you have calls you need to make or meetings you need to attend (either virtual or onsite)?

Before you can actually begin to work, you need to get organized. It may be difficult at first, but once you’re even partially organized, you feel better about your work.

First off, you may be busy but you need to figure out a day to just do nothing but clean. It may not take you a whole day, but you should still block off the entire day. If you get things cleaned up in less time, GREAT! You’ll at least know what you need to do after your area is clean.

Now, say tomorrow is the day you’ve chosen to clean and organize. Start with the desk. Take a look at everything on your desk and start putting it away where it goes. If there’s papers laying around, put them in a pile. Once you’ve completely cleaned off your desk, file those papers. Put them where they go. Now you should be feeling better already!

Next step…get a piece of paper out. If you use a Franklin Covey planner or something similar, get it out. If you use an online calendar, pull it up. Write down (or type) everything you need to do and then start prioritizing it and putting it in the appropriate date that you need to do it. If you have little reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, etc. lying around, write/type them in your calendar. Write/type any VA meetings you have or Websites you need to visit (the VA Revolution should probably be at the top of that list ;) ).

Wow! You’re on your way to feeling better about your office, your work assignments and are ready to roll!