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From the section: articles

Do you have an exit plan in place?

Susan Finch | July, 2013 |

With Pope Benedict II’s announcement several months ago that he’s “retiring," it made me think about how much pressure that puts on the rest of his team to find a replacement, fill in obligations with a yet-to-be-named person, rewrite documents, update website bios, replace managers of twitter accounts, and iTunes’ channels. The Catholic Church had a lot to get done in a short period of time. In addition to those items, they had their regular graphics to keep updated or just create in the first place. Don’t let this happen to you and your company due to key staff changes. Make sure all profiles are current if they list staff members, images of your products, key staff members and other critical information such as email, web address, specific links to perhaps old pages, mailing address.

Some additional points to consider:

  1. Who will be handling all email to the key person who is leaving or has suddenly left the company? Do you need more than one person doing this to check tone, etc. and handle the load?
  2. Who will be the media point person on the topic of the "sudden exit" and the point person for the duties left behind by the exiting person? Do they have the history, files, materials and team necessary to carry on the company message?
  3. How will you tell your customer and vendors that their accounts will now be handled by a new person or team? You don't want to lose customers, have them lose faith and your company lose revenue due to this change.
  4. ALL social media venues will need these updates, updates to profiles, website bios. Make sure you have a list of ALL accounts the exiting person was using on behalf of the company.
  5. This should be moved to 1 - bank accounts, credit cards, any auto payment systems, including PayPal, Square, merchant accounts tied to that specific person and their security questions.

WHOA! Let's back up here. The list above is based on the assumption that you would, of course, have all of their logins SOMEWHERE, along with their super-secret questions and answers. Please tell me you have this information? If not, it may not be too late. Don't despair.

If you are in a company, own a company or in the top executive level in a company - no matter how small - here are a few items to have in place from the beginning:

  1. A trusted accountant, bookkeeper, tax analyst that you can entrust with some of this information.
  2. A family member outside the company, or spouse you can trust with a file you can update from time to time that is encrypted. Password to be given to the numbers team in item 1.
  3. A list of all usernames/passwords that can be entrusted to SOMEONE - a spreadsheet will work as the simplest method. Feel free to break it into two pieces - one half for folks in item 1, and the other for the person(s) in item 2. BUT... BUT you MUST keep it updated regularly.
  4. Add one or two key people on accounts for an emergency situation - contact legal counsel on this.

I know for me, I have five people in place that can pull my business together. A bookkeeper that has all of my accounting information, passwords, bank access, a tax analyst that can clean up items and tie up my life on paper, and three people that can continue on with my accounts permanently or until a new supplier has been secured. I owe this to my clients. They trusted a small business person and need to know that there is a plan, "just in case."

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How do you look in all online venues; not just your website but social media? Remember to review periodically. Make sure your connected accounts are current. Don't forget that your business face may need to be VERY different than your personal face ad profiles.Need help? Let us know.

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Commpro, LLC has been around since before there was an internet. We started as a public relations and advertising firm and expanded into website design and hosting in 1995. In 1999 we began to develop and expand our CMS. 


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