It’s been almost two weeks since I got word that my husband – and business partner – had suffered a heart attack while biking with friends.  Although Dean is still in the ICU, thankfully it looks like he’ll make a full recovery.  But our mom-and-pop shop is going to be without “pop” for quite a while, and I’ve also been away from the store now for fourteen days straight.

If your store is one of the 6 million mom-and-pop businesses in America, or if you are a sole proprietor, what would happen to your shop if you and/or your spouse suddenly couldn’t be there?  As difficult it is to think about something catastrophic happening, 2020 has taught us all that life can be unpredictable.

We are fortunate that we have a great staff with the ability – and dedication – to keep things going in our absence. But they wouldn’t be able to do this without certain tools.  In preparing for an emergency, make sure that you have:

  1. At least one person with a key to the store, and the ability to disable the alarm
  2. A trusted backup signer on your checking account so that bills can be paid
  3. Emergency contact information on file for yourself, and your employees
  4. Passwords for your store’s website and email marketing platform so that you can work remotely
  5. An arrangement that will allow payroll to be processed in your temporary absence
  6. A way to keep your employees in the loop –  they need to know what is happening

Disability insurance can help protect your business in case you, or your partner, are not able to return to work for a period of time.  We carried this type of insurance for many years after it was pointed out to us that if one of us was temporarily disabled, the other person would also most likely be out for some time as a caregiver.

What would happen if one of you died unexpectedly? There is no time like to present to make sure that you have made arrangements for your store in your will.  Key person insurance with the business as the recipient can help cushion the blow of losing one of the owners, and buy some time as the store transfers to a new owner or is liquidated.  

You may need to close your store for some time while coping with a sudden catastrophic event.  There is no shame in putting your own life before that of your shop – people come first, always.

Happy Retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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