I own an S Corporation that has launched a niche market web service and have signed up a few customers. I'm still very much bootstrapping this and doing everything myself (a one-man show).
I'm currently negotiating a deal with a largish customer who wants have a 5 year agreement in place. Because I'm currently a one man show, they rightly have concerns about what would happen if I die or something happens that causes me to be unable to provide the service.
What should I do to relieve their worries? I've already explained to them the following:
- A comprehensive list of all critical information, such as servers, passwords, and so forth are stored in an encrypted file (using KeePass).
- My master KeePass password is safe with a trusted outsider who has instructions on how to recover the information if something was to happen to me.
- The web service allows the customer to export all of their data so they could conceivably switch to a different service or build a suitable solution.
- The trusted outsider has instructions on how to get the service up and running if it is down and the customer needs access to export data
- The trusted outsider has information on the types of skills necessary to run the operation so they could hire someone to handle things while they sort stuff out.
- They understand this is a startup business and they really like the product. I explained that I need customers like them to take the risk so that I can grow large enough to hire additional staff. They are getting a good deal because they are an early adopter.
I'm considering doing the following:
- Getting an insurance policy that will cover the costs of running the business (hiring someone to do so) for some time while my beneficiaries determine what to do with the business.
- Setting up an account with Entrustet or Legacy Locker.
However, costs are tight, so I need to really think these through. Even though this customer is considered largish, the contract by no means will pay for everything. A full year of the service for this customer might pay for my business expenses for a month or two, but not anything toward a salary. I need to get about a dozen customers before I can consider hiring someone.
The critical issue at the moment is that we are negotiating a contract. The customer wants some sort of provision or clause in our agreement that explains what will happen in this situation. Any suggestions on how to do this? Any examples of contracts or agreements with similar provisions?