If Today Was Your Last Day

What would happen to your business if you were gone? Being an entrepreneur (especially with an online business), can hold some tough realizations about how the “day to day operations” were to run if you were no longer around. Unlike regular 9-5 jobs, or careers that can be trained into, we’ve spent our lives being the best at what we do. In most cases, our better half or family members wouldn’t have the knowledge to come in and keep things running… let alone even know where to start!

As grim as the subject may be, you always need to plan for the unexpected. If you haven’t already, here are a few things to think about while planning for the future of your business and financial security of your family if you were no longer around.

Passwords, Logins and Account Details
Personally, I have hundreds of usernames, passwords and urls all stored up in my head. When I see a certain web site layout, it just triggers whatever the password was that I setup for that account. Unfortunately, this would be nearly impossible for anyone else to handle that didn’t set up these account. It’s always a good idea to have a “written” booklet or note pad tucked away somewhere safely that contains all of the useful information to access your accounts. Whether it’s your affiliate accounts, banking records or billings… you don’t want to leave all of this information lost when your time comes.

Short Term vs. Long Term Business
Is your business model changing every week, or something that will make residual income for months with little maintenance? Even if you are generating almost all of your income from PPC marketing, this is an amazing skill to have, and once you are gone… your successful business is likely to follow. On the flip side, if you have a high traffic site, established brand or recurring income… all of these can still remain in tact and providing financial security for your family later on. Whether your business plan is short term, or has the potential to last for years… you need a backup plan to either have it bundled up and sold, or a way for someone to come in an maintain what you have started.

Recurring Billing, Ad Costs and Domains
Once again, this area can fall under having a document of all accounts and passwords. There is so much to think about when looking at our businesses as a whole. When are your domains expiring, are you pre-paid on hosting or paying monthly… what recurring charges are on your credit card that you will get billed for if they are used of not. This continuing list is a huge factor in whether your business will succeed if you are gone.

Business Model: What is it?
The most important factor to the success of your business, is your business model. It’s hard enough for us to explain to the “average person” what we do and how to make money… imagine being left with everything we started, and no idea where to start! When you are no longer the business, can someone step in and continue what you started? Should you have a “foster” entrepreneur to manage the business in your absence?

This is just the tip of the iceberg on what can be a massive list for some “one man” operations. The bottom line is… is your business model ready for the unthinkable and will it live on past your life time?

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  1. I know this can be a bit scary, but the best bet will be sharing all that stuff with your wife.

  2. @Amit: I don't know Amit – my wife won't know what to do with my business. But, I did give her a list of the people to call when I die: a business colleague, my accountant, and sys admin. They'll take it from there.

  3. Is good to try to explain what to do when you die with your business, but I think you have to say someone who know what to do with your domains, your sites, e something else.

  4. If you have a family and want to take care of them, your business should buy a very large insurance policy (which the amount will be different to everyone) to pay them in the event of your death. Unlike a traditional business, when you are gone so is your business in most cases for internet marketers.

  5. Nice post, i manage a few properties I own as well and worry about how my partner would keep on top of the running of them. As you said, for my net business, I don't always understand it myself never mind trying to explain it to my partner. Quite worrying when you give it some thought.

    Start building the business the way you want it from day one. Put as many automated processes into place as possible. Keep it simple, set daily works plans that others could follow if necessary. Some good points.

  6. I never thought of this until now. Hmmm… I think it's a good thing to start writing all of your usernames, passwords, and other account or online details and keep it in a safe. If you have businesses online, I think it's better to be prepared than being sorry in the future.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    <abbr>Internet Marketing Tips’s last blog post..SaleHoo – A Wholesale Directory Review</abbr>

  7. I use KeePassX to store all my passwords. You just need a master password to get in and they're all right there.

  8. If/When I die, things will go with me….I see no reason to lie and say that I will pass my work for others to build off…

    <abbr>Crazy Oldie’s last blog post..U-S-A! U-S-A!</abbr>

  9. This is a very interesting topic. In the old days, a Will was enough planning for someone preparing to die. Then came Living Wills, or Healthcare Directives. Now we need to think about passwords that may be needed by those who succeed us.

    <abbr>Minnesota Attorney’s last blog post..Minnesota Small Business Attorney</abbr>

  10. I always get a kick out of posts like this, there is always the people who say things like "who cares, i don't want anyone to benefit from my hard work." I think those who say that must be a bit confused, if you had a family, children or just people you care for why would you not want to pass it on to them.

    My life's goal is not to make for myself, my only goal in life is to provide the best quality of life for my family that I possibly can. I want my children and their children to have a happy, pleasant and successful life. If I can aid in this by passing things on to them, I most certainly will do that.

    I'd have to imagine, or hope at least that the people who say things like "screw everyone else, I'm taking it with me" are single and have no surviving family.

    <abbr>Jesse’s last blog post..Busy Week, Welcome Mya And Happy 4th Of July</abbr>

  11. One always should try to build a business and not just a one man show. Keeping written record of every thing you do in business can help others to continue once you are gone.

    <abbr>Ottawawebjournal’s last blog post..How to Get $100 by word of mouth?</abbr>

  12. This is akin to keeping up with regular hard drive backups, as you never know when disaster might strike. Your point is well taken, I do make surte of having a handwritten backup for all my online accounts and passwords.

  13. I keep no electronic copies of any passwords for fear of lack of security, if only in future. That way I know that I'm as safe as possible.

  14. Business owners don't often think about planning for when they will no longer be around. Your suggestions are excellent.

    <abbr>Minnesota Attorney’s last blog post..Minnesota Small Business Attorney</abbr>

  15. Good tips Zac. So many people run their internet business on their own. If something were to happen to them, lack of passwords or understanding may limit how long your business keeps going. Of course most of us would want to provide a long term source of income to our loved ones.

  16. It's hard to think about, but realistically, everyone needs to plan for the unexpected. I try and share everything I do online with my husband, and I feel confident that he could handle a couple things, but running everything? Eh…not so much. The funny thing is, I don't even have much to "run" at this point.. I don't want to die..man…it really sucks that it has to happen someday. Ah well..I suppose it's better to be prepared. 🙂

    Brenon MacLaury

    <abbr>Brenon MacLaury’s last blog post..Your Guide to the Offers</abbr>

  17. Actually it's really sad to do these ways, it's like we're going to die soon and we have to prepare everything for our family. I think most of us would like to live longer and enjoy the life with our family. But it's good to do as well, accident is unexpected, we don't know what will be happening tomorrow.

    Anyway, wish all of us in good health and live longer!


  18. What do I care if it's my last day? I'd *maybe* put someone in charge of a community i run but apart from that I'd ignore the rest. It's not like it'll matter to me anymore.

    <abbr>Stancje’s last blog post..WrocÅ‚aw 13.07.2009: Mam do wynajÄ™cia</abbr>

  19. lol i loved your article , but if today was my last day , i swear i wouldn't turn on my laptop

  20. Hi Amit,
    "I know this can be a bit scary, but the best bet will be sharing all that stuff with your wife. "

    I am a bachelor and i have my own firm and i have no parents, if i will die then what about your suggestion regarding this please!

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