I think it is important for domain investors should create some sort of business continuity plan for their domain investments, even if they do not technically operate a business. If something unexpected happens that prevents one of us from operating our business or directing someone else to operate it, some sort of continuity plan would be helpful.
I created what amounts to a business continuity plan in the event something happens to me while I am still operating my businesses. It might not be 100% complete, but I think it would provide some guidance to the people who would be managing my business.
I thought I would share some of the topics that I felt were important for my business continuity plan. Keep in mind this plan is a work in progress – I regularly make revisions and additions as things come up. Importantly, I do not keep confidential or sensitive information in the continuity plan. Things like passwords and private account numbers are kept separate and secured elsewhere.
You are welcome to share some things I may have missed:
Emergency contacts – I have a list of important contacts that either should be contacted in the event of an issue or who could be contacted for advice. This list includes account managers, business and industry attorneys, trusted industry friends and colleagues, business accountant, registrar contacts, and anyone else who could be trusted and would be helpful. I included both email addresses and phone numbers, and I update this as things change. I want the people who would operate my businesses to be able to keep them operating for as long as they would like but know who to contact if questions arise.
Domain registrar and registration information – An updated list of domain names in a portfolio and where they are registered is important to have. Obviously an active business regularly buys and sells domain names, so it may not be feasible to constantly keep this updated. Keeping a list, including purchase price information can be helpful.
Financial documents – I wouldn’t keep financial records in a business continuity plan, but I would make sure information about how to access these documents is made available.
Banking information – It’s important to know where my business does its banking to ensure credit cards and bills continue to be paid on time.
Current deals – Many businesses have ongoing deals that should continue to be paid or addressed. Lease deals, payment plan deals, and advertising deals (just a few examples) either need to be continued or need to be worked out.
Domain name sale listings – If domain names are listed for sale on a marketplace, that information is important to know. It could be confusing if a domain name is sold in the interim.
Hosting and development information – If websites are hosted, it’s good to list where they are hosted and how they can be accessed. Contact information for web developers who are trusted should be provided.
Sadly, I know a few people in the domain investment space (and elsewhere) who have died unexpectedly. It seems that people often come out of the woodwork to either offer genuine help or try to take advantage of the situation (“Sorry your husband died. I am happy to help you with your domain names. I will pay $1,000 for that one word .com domain name we have been discussing.“) For this reason, I think it is critical to put down a list of trusted friends and make sure whomever is managing the business understand that people will reach out. Some are genuine and some are genuinely trying to take advantage.
Domain investing is a bit of an opaque business. People who are serious about their investments – and those who make enough money to make a plan critical – have spent many years learning about the industry. Expecting a family member, attorney, or friend to manage your business to your expectations in a short period of time is totally unreasonable. Creating a business continuity plan is a good way to keep a business operating and/or able to shut down in an orderly fashion.