Jewelers are in the business of helping couples get to the moment when they profess their love and vow "til death do us part."
Few relationships are intended to last forever, or even a lifetime, but when you get into bed with a business partner, you are rarely thinking about the day when you will break up. When you're in business for yourself, you should be making forward steps to improve your business, but also prepare yourself to different possible future outcomes.
Even though a business relation might seem really good today, you always need to know how to file for a divorce.
While I've spent the last 4.5 years telling you how to improve upon your online marketing, your website, or to hire someone to help you do it for you, I've never detailed the steps to cut off those business relationships that are no longer suitable for you.
Last week, I explained a common scenario where a potential customer does not want to tell their web programmer that they are leaving for fear of reprisals or simply getting them angry. I specifically remember one time when a potential client told me they didn't even want to ask their web programmer for their Google Analytics login because it would clearly indicate that they were up to something. No one wants to make that uncomfortable call.
There are a lot of different websites and online services that require some type of business account. Google Analytics is just one of them; and to raise your awareness I'll quickly mention LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Pinterest as accounts you need access to.
If you're like most retail jewelers of today, none of these accounts will exist until you hire an agency to set them up for you. Reputable agencies will use your name and business information when creating the accounts, thereby granting you ownership of the accounts.
Instead of worrying about username and password access to your accounts during the sunset of your business relationships, you should mandate this information and file it safely away at the beginning of the relationship.
Some programmers and online marketing companies might be a little surprised to hear your initial request to have direct access to all your online accounts. You could simply request for this information to be part of your contract with your agency. Just tell them it's part of your company policy to have usernames and passwords on file.
Here now are some specific accounts you need access to.
Email Administrator Account
I bet you'll want an official looking email address when you first register your domain name. You could use GoDaddy's email system if you register your domain name through them, or you could use Google Apps to set up a business Gmail account for yourself.
In fact, the possibilities for business email accounts are endless, but there is one consistent fact with every email setup, in that there's always a master administrative email account. That master account might be firstname.lastname@example.org or it might just be the first email you set up.
GoDaddy doesn't have a master email account, instead you simply log into your GoDaddy account using your username and password. Once logged in, you can administer all the services you pay them for.
Your email service will also have an emergency access, or password recovery email address. Google is really good at reminding you when you don't have an emergency access email address on file. For extra added protection, you should set that address as your personal address.
I've already mentioned that GoDaddy has a master account under which you will purchase all their services. Through GoDaddy you can register a domain name, pay for website hosting, rent a private web server, manage emails, and a whole lot more.
GoDaddy account ownership is assigned to the person or company listed on that master account. That name should be your name, not your agency's name.
Similarly, if your account is with Network Solutions, then you should be designated as the account owner and have your email address on file. Network Solutions also provides various email and hosting services that can all be accessed through their main login account.
Find out what registrar your agency will use to register your domain name. Some registrars only work with agencies and will refuse your direct contact attempts. This situation is unacceptable and gives your agency too much power over your domain name.
Your company information must always be on your domain account. Even if you are locked out of your account, you can easily regain access by submitting proof of business ownership. That proof is simply a fax showing legal or financial documents that match the ownership information specified on your account.
Let's face it, Google is very popular and everyone is connected to them somehow. There's a massive amount of information associated with your business Google Account. Although your domain name and emails are needed for every day work, it's your Google account that possesses the information you need to build a successful business future. Losing access to that business intelligence, or ignoring it, can only lead to your business demise. Yeah, I feel pretty strongly about this!
If you're starting from scratch, then I suggest you create a generic Gmail account that will be used for everything. This can be as simple as YourJewelryStoreName@gmail.com. No one ever needs to know this email address, and you won't use it for anything other than managing your business' online identity.
Some of you might have already claimed ownership of your Google My Business account using your personal account. If that's the case then you need to ask you agency to walk you through the steps to set up Google Analytics and grant them My Business access as a Manager.
Please, please, please (did I say please?) listen to me when I say that you should not allow them to set up a random Google Analytics account for you. You must have a single Google account that will tie into all Google services.
Here's a short list of the important Google services that must be united within a single account that you control:
* Google Maps
* Google Search
* Google+ Pages
* Google Reviews
* Google Analytics
* Google AdWords
* Google AdWords Express
Thankfully, setting up a Facebook page is a little easier than setting up the Google account. Your agency can create a business page for you, just make sure they add you as an "Admin" so you can manage the account. For extra measure you should also have a few of your employees added as Admins.
I'll continue this discussion tomorrow where I'll explain Pinterest, Foursquare, and Twitter. I'll also give you some password and prenuptial warnings and the steps to divorce your website agency.