Despite the fact that you don’t like to think about it, your death is inevitable. It will happen and nothing you can do will prevent it so now is the time to start thinking about what happens to … and with … your small business when you die.
Will you leave behind a business that your family can continue on with … or sell … or wind up … without any hassles or will you inflict more pain on them and leave behind a mess that no one can sort out?
Death is inevitable and it could come tomorrow
Don’t dismiss the idea of your death as something that you will think about later because you don’t know when it’s going to happen and you may not get much advanced warning either.
Right now, as I write this, a good friend of ours is in hospital and in the final days … maybe hours … of his life. Ten weeks ago, he was fit and healthy and the slight pain in his back was probably there because he picked something up the wrong way.
Today we know that the slight pain was the first warning of pancreatic cancer … one of the most aggressive cancers anyone can have. Four weeks ago it was finally diagnosed but by then it was too late for him to do anything about his business because the massive doses of morphine that he needed to combat the pain were clouding his judgement.
Fortunately for our friend … and his family … he had sold his small business just a few weeks before that first twinge of pain. Everything had been finalised by the time the cancer was beginning to grow so he has had nothing to worry about and no mess to leave behind for his family to sort out.
His taxes were paid, all his accounts had been finalised, all the equipment leases had been transferred to the new owners. Everything was taken care of.
Are you keeping your business records in your brain?
But what about you? What would you leave behind if you suddenly died tomorrow? Would your loved ones be able to walk into your business and take over? Are your financial records in order? Is everything easy to find and easy to follow or is it a total shambles?
So many of us run our business from the filing cabinet in our brain and our financial records are nothing more than an old shoebox filled with invoices and receipts. If we have employees then of course we know who they are and how much we owe them in wages, commissions or payments for work done and we make sure that they get paid.
But what happens if we suddenly leave the building? How do those who have to clean up the mess you have left behind know who was working for you?
Of course, if you’re running a bricks and mortar business the chances are that your loved ones will know who you employ and they’ll probably have some idea of how much you pay them but what if the people who work for you work remotely?
Don’t leave a mess for someone else to try and clean up
Would your loved ones know of them? Could someone tell from your email inbox who was currently working for you? Would your loved ones know how much your remote workers should be paid? If all that information is filed in your head then where does that leave your remote staff if you’re suddenly not with us anymore?
If you’re not keeping good records then you are inflicting even more pain on your loved ones. It will be hard enough for them when you go and trying to sort out a mess that you’ve left behind will make it so much worse for them … so don’t do it.
Prepare now for when you die. Make sure that all that information you have stored in your head is taken out and placed somewhere that those that come after you will find it.
Keep your financial records up to date. Keep a record of the people who work for you and how much you pay them … and how you pay them.
Accept the fact that you are not going to live forever and now is the time to prepare for your departure so that you don’t leave a horrible mess for you loved ones to clean up.
Being an entrepreneur, a seniorpreneur or a small business owner can be a rewarding experience … especially here online. You can make money … a lot of money … just ask all the successful people online who want to sell you their secret for success.
It’s not hard to find one of them … you don’t have to look far … they’re everywhere and they almost infest Facebook.
“Infest” … makes you think of fleas doesn’t it? Hmmm in some ways that’s just what they are like. They’re hopping about and popping up everywhere and, while they may not want your blood, they certainly want your money.
Of course, they’ll give you something in exchange for the money you give them. They’ll teach you how to be just as successful as they are … and they are successful. Just ask them and they’ll tell you that they started with nothing and now money is just falling of the forest of money trees they have planted in their backyards.
The fleas of the Internet
And you can be just like them. You don’t have to work hard … you don’t have to do anything except take their course and you too will make a fortune … retire wealthy … never have to work again.
It certainly sounds wonderful doesn’t it? All you have to do is pay a few bucks … maybe as little as $97 … just to get under that $100 psychological barrier … and you will be laughing all the way to the bank.
All you have to do … once you’ve parted with your money … is sell your key-to-success course to a bunch of suckers just like you.
Whoa! Did I just call you a sucker? If you believe that all these get-rich-quick-schemes that people try to sell you are genuine then I sure did call you a sucker.
If you want the rewards you have to do the work
You see, the fact is that the only person who makes money from selling courses is the person who sells the course. You pay him … you get the training … and then you have to go out and do the work if you want to make money.
Suddenly you discover that you have to work and that makes the promise of easy money sounds about as hollow is it should have sounded the first time you heard it. There simply is no easy path to riches and success … there are no rewards without effort.
If you want the rewards then you have to do the work … hour after hour … day after day … week after week … month after month … year after year. There are no short cuts … no easy path to riches … there’s just hard and unrelenting work so don’t be fooled into parting with your money.
Don’t listen to those who want to separate you from your hard-earned cash with promises of easy money.
If you want the rewards then do the work and you will get what you deserve. Keep looking for the fast way to easy money and all you will end up with is and empty wallet and empty bank account.
Sadly I have seen quite a few people … young and old … who have chased the dream of easy money and ended up with nothing.
Ransomware is that nasty stuff that we’re beginning to hear more and more about that can turn your computer’s hard drive into a useless piece of trash almost in the blink of an eye.
Ransomware will encrypt all your files and parts of your operating system and lock you out until you have paid whatever ransom the hacker, who sent you that ransomware, wants.
They only care about the money
The hacker doesn’t care whether you’re a multi-national business or a poor struggling student. The hacker doesn’t care if your entire business is contained in those encrypted files on your hard drive and if you don’t get them back your entire family will be living on the streets.
The hacker doesn’t care if your hard drive holds the only photos that you have of your dead children and if you don’t get them back you’ll kill yourself.
They don’t care about anything but the money they want you to pay them. If you do pay them then they probably will send you the key to unencrypt your files but if you don’t pay them it’s almost guaranteed that you will never get access to those files again.
It’s a nasty position to be in especially when you discover that the ransom is usually a large sum of money and the bad guys are not going to negotiate.
The feelings your left with become even worse when you eventually realise that there are four simple things you can do to reduce your chances of being hit with ransomware.
The Internet is a Dark and Dangerous Place
Understand that the Internet is a great place to do business and have some fun but it’s also full of nasty people who want to do nasty things to you and your business. Be alert to the risks that are lurking on the Net and stop thinking that your safe on the Net.
Have a security mindset and question everything you do online before you do it.
No website, no link, no email, should be considered to be 100% safe.
Invest in good, paid, security programs
Have an up-to-date suite of security programs installed on your computer. An anti-virus program is not enough anymore. A program that detects Malware is also needed and some anti-ransomware programs are starting to appear so install one of those too.
Having those security programs installed is great but you have to keep them updated too. Just as your favourite software is continually being upgraded so too are all the nasty software that hackers use so keep your security software updated or the hackers will get around it with no trouble at all.
Of course, these programs cost money and many new business people have limited funds but staying safe online is a cost of doing business. Before you decide not to pay for the security these programs can give you stop and think about how much it would cost you to recover from a ransomware hit.
Think before you click
Don’t download anything to your computer from a link that someone sent you unexpectedly. Don’t click on links that friends, workmates, family members or complete strangers send you without first checking with the person who sent you the link.
Don’t open attachments that you weren’t expecting … and even if you were expecting something be cautious about opening it before you know that it is probably safe.
Of course, if the link or attachment came from a complete stranger then delete the email immediately but if you know who it came from check with that person before you open it, download it or click on it.
Emails carrying malicious links and attachments can be made to look as if they came from someone you know so don’t trust them … check first and stay safe.
Backup, backup and backup some more
Backup, backup and backup some more. If the hard drives on your computer hold information that is vital for your business or things of great sentimental value then backup all your files to an external hard drive and then unplug that drive from your computer.
And don’t think that one backup is enough. Set yourself a regular schedule for backing up the files on your computer and stick to that schedule. The more frequent those backups are the less risk you have of losing something important, and the faster you can recover, if you get hit with ransomware.
However, make sure that you don’t leave your backup drive plugged into your computer and don’t plug your backup drive into the computer while it’s locked. Any type of drive can become infected if it is plugged into a machine that has been hit with ransomware.
If you’re not going to pay the ransom then don’t try and unlock the computer yourself. Instead take your computer, and your backup drive, to an expert and let them handle it for you. Yes, that will cost you serious money so think about the alternatives.
More and more hackers are realising that fewer victims will pay the ransom if the hackers don’t remove the encryption so the chances are that, if you pay the ransom, your files will be released. But that’s a decision that only you can make.
The risk of being hit with ransomware is now a fact of life for anyone with a computer but you can reduce your risk level if you just take some simple precautions and accept that those precautions are now necessary if you want to be online.