Crisis Counseling

by Cathy Brower

The other day I was trying to order something by telephone, only to be told that the computers were down and I would have to call back later. Well you know what, I never did place that order. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets frustrated enough to forget the whole thing. How many times has that happened to you? It happens at hotels, restaurants, airlines ­ at almost any business that relies heavily on technology.

If you are a big business, an occasional hiccup won’t hurt the bottom line too much. But what if you are a small business? I have a friend who ran a small design firm in Florida. A few years ago, a series of severe storms caused his systems to crash. And of course, it crashed just before he had an important project due to his biggest client. It was days before he got things up and running again, and even then, files were lost or corrupt. During those few days, operations basically shut down. When the deadlines were missed, his biggest client and several smaller ones took their business elsewhere. That was pretty much the end of his business. He held on for a couple more months before he officially called it quits.

I wish I could say that this kind of thing doesn’t happen often, but I’d be lying. It happens all the time. You can’t predict acts of God or human error, but you can be prepared for them. For this month’s cover story, our experts have prepared an eight-point contingency plan that will get your business through a crisis relatively unscathed.

On an unrelated note, our research tells us that you love reading stories about what other small business owners are doing to leverage their technology. And sometimes inspiring examples can come from the most unlikely places. This month we have a great profile on a messenger company right here in New York City. Since they went high tech, they have seen their business really take off. If you know of any small businesses that are doing interesting things with their tech, please let us know.

And as always, send us any comments or thoughts on what we’re writing about or what we should be writing about. E-mail me at my new address,

Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing Staff
Small Business Computing addresses the technology needs of small businesses, which are defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees and/or less than $7 million in annual sales.

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