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Why you need a ‘Truck File’

close up of hand writing in notebook at table

What on earth’s a ‘Truck File’ we hear you ask? Pretty much just what it says on the tin…a file full of all the information you need on your business so that if you were to be hit by a truck and couldn’t work, there is, in one file, all the information needed for someone else to run your business. And whilst it may be common sense, it’s not commonly done!

Believe us, bitter experience shows that businesses can and do fail without them. A colleague had taken on an interim CEO role in a growing technology company and on her first day asked for their Truck File, only to receive blank looks all round. There was no truck file, no system or processes in place to collate all the most important information. Information was everywhere and nowhere, and what was available was mostly in peoples’ heads…

She advised them to get their Truck File together fast. They agreed…but didn’t do it fast enough. Two days later the key software developer was killed outright in a head-on crash. With a truck.

Clearly everyone was devastated on a personal basis, but the company was devastated too. With no back-up files, access codes, security passes, documentation of the developer’s work, etc. the impact on the company was catastrophic – it took them years to recover. And all because they didn’t take the time as the company grew to ensure they had all the relevant company information secure and accessible in one place – they didn’t have a Truck File. Please don’t let this happen to you!

A Truck File will be different things to different people, will very much depend on the size of the company, and will be securely saved in different ways, but the key message is…have one.

Just take half a day this month and pull together all the info you need. Contact details of key people, lawyers, accountants, bank accounts, passwords, companies house information, certificates, contracts, confidentiality agreements, product and system documentation – anything you think someone would need to run your business if you weren’t available.

Scan relevant files (or include relevant links to where the information can be found) and keep everything safe and secure your preferred way – it may be in a file sharing system or on a thumb drive. Store a hard copy or two in different physical places – with a co-founder or a trusted relative. And if everything is password-protected, someone will need the password – maybe you give that to someone else who doesn’t have access to all the information?

We could go on, but we don’t need to – you get the point by now. Just ask yourself if you weren’t able to work in your business for a significant period of time, how could it still operate and grow? And in order to do that, what information and access would someone else need and how will you get that to them?

But please keep your Tuck File up to date…a quick review once a month is about right. Happy Trucking!

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