“My assistant DeAnn and I have found and integrated tools to make it possible for us to walk out of the office, never to return for any reason and be able to be back up in business within a few hours.”
Amy Rose Herrick
Chartered Financial Consultant, Investment Advisor
Christiansted, Virgin Islands
As I watched those buildings bursting apart and then collapsing aside from the realization there were still people in those burning symbols of terror, I saw all the papers fluttering through the air that I knew held records of something on them.
I knew the flames had destroyed offices and jobs. I knew that the piles of rubble mean there was nothing to recover or repair. No jobs to go back to for survivors. No business left to run for owners. Clients with no business to go back to in a state of chaos. I knew a lot of things died that day along with the named victims. Businesses and jobs affected did not have a memorial service or death certificate issued in the aftermath.
I am a small business. As a result of this and other out-of-the-box thinking I am no longer dependent on a location to operate. There is too much vulnerability for loss in this scenario as we have seen from 9/11, wildfires, acts of terror and natural disasters.
My assistant DeAnn and I have found and integrated tools to make it possible for us to walk out of the office, never to return for any reason and be able to be back up in business within a few hours. We can be back in business the same day even if that means we set up temporarily in a hotel across town, move in with family, rent a home states or continents away, etc. All we really need is a roof and electricity plus a trip to an office supply store for minimal equipment.
We have integrated tech tools that allow us to serve our multi-state investment, financial and tax clientele with minimum interruptions from any reason and we keep no paper records that could be destroyed as our only resources.
From my view, we are a changing constantly mobile society. The bricks and mortar establishments of the past are not thriving. They are vulnerable standing alone or in mass in twin towers. It is the remote or often skilled telepreneur who can be flexible who is shaping today's workforce. Although we did not plan it, DeAnn and I are an early successful model of that employer/employee business that operates thousands of miles apart from each other.
This location independence flexibility allowed me to relocate my office from Topeka, Kansas to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands when opportunity knocked a few years ago. I kept my continental practice in place and we are still growing here in the VI and stateside. We never planned for a move to the VI to be the reason to test our ability to set up an office quickly in this case thousands of miles away at the end of a plane ride, yet it was our test. We passed!
A second very important lesson learned from those who were paying attention had to do with those who planned and those who did not for continuity in crisis. For example, if I should die suddenly, I have a funded buy/sell agreement in place with another trusted professional to step in and take over my client base so they are not left to fend for themselves in chaos.
The lack of a funded continuity plan for death and disability of owners or key employees at any time from a group crisis or single loss is another business loss lesson learned from unprepared businesses of 9/11. This one is easy for any size business to avoid with a little advance planning. This is a business lesson that should never need to be repeated, but it will be countless times in not so dramatic examples every day.
For those in 9/11 affected that had some portion of a workforce left, a lack of cash resources still was insurmountable to rebuild a company and continue jobs for survivors to come back to. Why? When no adequate life insurance on owners or key employees was in force to give the company an immediate cash infusion so desperately needed to start over, the business was unable to rise from the ashes like a phoenix without it.