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When Things Go Wrong, Startup Problems and Solutions

Aside from the business-side of things, the challenges facing startup owners can also come from surprising and even unexpected origins.

Problem: Computer crashes

You could be chugging away at your old faithful desktop, detailing the next step of your business, when suddenly the computer just blacks out – taking with it all your grand schemes. You make the obligatory cry of frustration and stare blankly at the dead screen, wondering what to do next, whether you’ll have to start over again, or figure out a way to salvage your data, or just accept defeat. Don’t worry, this might seem like the end of the world, but it isn’t and it can be prevented.

Solution: Remote Backups and Redundant Infra

Your system should be backed up with alternative storage systems, either actual physical devices or databanks in the cloud. Of course, an ounce of prevention is better than looking for a cure, so it also helps to make sure your computers and other office infrastructure aren’t on the verge of giving up the ghost. Invest in surge protection and secondary power systems so that outages won’t knock your startup out in one stroke.

Multilayered redundancies, including an off-site backup and off-site staff like VAs who can access files for you remotely and continue working on their end, will make you truly the Die Hard of startups.

Problem: An employee suddenly leaves

Life can throw curveballs. Maybe an employee leaves because he or she found other opportunities. Or there could have been disagreements. Heaven’s forbid it may be for medical reasons. It’s always sad to see someone go, even when it’s on good terms. But organizations, even small businesses, must be prepared for such contingencies – especially if individual employees handle specialized tasks.

Solution: Thorough work-process documentation

A replacement must be found ASAP so productivity won’t dip, or go down for too long. Aside from the selection process, training can also take some time. And it can go longer than necessary in disorganized offices that don’t have standardized and thoroughly documented work processes.

But this also means that the orientation can be shortened by standardization. It means that an all-rounded VA can quickly pick up the slack for the meanwhile while the replacement completes training sooner rather than later.

Problem: Losing important files or devices during work trips

OK your workplace has been hardened and your files are all backed up, so your startup can survive anything short of an asteroid strike. You decide to go on a well-deserved vacation, occasionally checking in with your laptop or smartphone. And then the worst case scenario happens, important documents get lost. Or your laptop gets stolen. Maybe your smartphone drops into the toilet. Your suitcase containing all the crucial materials gets misplaced at the airport, you’re not sure when you’ll get it back or if you’ll ever see it again. Now what?

Solution: Trust in the Cloud… and a VA

By backing everything up in the cloud, you can get another device or head to an internet cafe and access all the important materials you’ve lost. And if your VA handled the trip scheduling and booking for you, then he or she can be a real lifesaver in forwarding you a copy of your itinerary and other crucial files, or reaching out to helpful local contacts. So you won’t end up being marooned like Tom Hanks in The Terminal. And you can continue getting work done while you’re at it.

Problem: Changing workplaces

Whether you’re expanding to a new venue or you had to change workplaces due to unreasonable landlords or even disasters like fires or storms, the moving process will present its fair share of challenges. Even if you’re transferring on your own accord, it can take some time to settle down and get things running on track again. Of course, the sooner work resumes the better.

Solution: Remote operations capacity

The disruptions can be minimized with cloud storage and by having a Virtual Assistant or staff. On the VA’s end, they’ll still clock into the office as if nothing’s happening, so as long as they know what to do then they can continue chugging on.

If the VA already does a lot of the work, or if you have multiple virtual employees, then you can plan in advance and temporarily delegate more work to them during the transition period. You can maintain productivity levels with this balancing act, and then return to normal work levels afterwards. While it may seem rough on the VAs, they would certainly appreciate the overtime pay!

The Takeaway

Many of these problems can be avoided or mitigated by hiring a VA. It is the best solution since virtual staff usually work with files saved on the cloud, they use CRMs and Project Management Tools to make their work more efficient. This means that by getting a VA, your startup will also be getting the digital infrastructure and processes necessary to boost redundancy and survivability in case things go wrong. VAs, and what they bring with them, provide a solution for multiple potential problems!


-John Li

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