Scenario #1: A small winery just starting out hires a consultant to build and host its website. The consultant also purchases and controls the domain name, sets up the web analytics account, the email newsletter account, and the social media accounts.
Scenario #2: Two business partners start a small wine importing business. One partner owns and manages all of the digital and social media accounts.
Scenario #3: A medium-sized winery employs an in-house web developer or social media manager who controls all the website, social media, and email newsletter accounts.
What happens when the small winery grows and wants to move to a more sophisticated web platform or work with a different consultant? What happens when the business partnership goes south? What happens when the in-house employee is let go or leaves under less-than-congenial circumstances? Houston, we have a problem!
I’ve personally witnessed all of these scenarios (not all in the wine industry). In the best cases, it requires jumping through a frustrating number of hoops to gain/regain control of the accounts and pull everything in-house. In the worst cases, websites need to be completely rebuilt from scratch and whole new social media accounts need to be created, which means building your followers all over again. This is costly in time, money, and reputation.
So, what can you do to keep this from happening to you?
Make a List
First, get organized and create a list of all of your digital accounts and assets. This includes:
- Your website software (WordPress, Squarespace, etc)
- Your website host (if you are using software like WordPress or Drupal)
- Your domain registrar – who you buy/renew your domain name through (i.e. GoDaddy; sometimes your domain registrar may be the same as your website host)
- Your email newsletter app (i.e. MailChimp, Constant Contact; sometimes your email program is integrated into your website software, host, or CRM)
- All of your Google accounts/assets – Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google Business Profile, Google Search Console, etc.
- All social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, etc.)
- Your social media management tool (if any)
- All advertising and marketing accounts
- Your POS system
- Your CRM database (may be integrated with your POS system)
- Your online reservations tool (may be integrated with your POS or CRM tools)
- Your eCommerce tool (if separate from your website or POS)
- Your wine club management tool (if separate from POS or CRM)
- Your shipping/fulfillment tool
- Anything else that is fundamental to the operation of your business
Manage Account Logins and Access
Now that you have the list, make sure there are at least 2 admin accounts or 2 people in your organization who know the admin account info. Your organization needs to be the owner of all of these accounts. If the system only allows for one admin account, it should ideally be created using an email address that is not tied to any one specific person (however, this is not always possible) and associated with a mailbox that multiple people can check. The goal is to create a system where no one person is the gatekeeper to that system. Lastly, all of this information needs to be stored in a secure, encrypted system, not on post-it notes or in a Google Doc. Check out tools like LastPass.
Once you have primary administrative control over all your accounts, you can assign access as needed to additional employees and consultants. Make sure to revoke access when employees leave and when you no longer work with a consultant.
If you are serious about the long-term success of your business, you need to fully own and be in control of accounts that are vital to your business. Yes, it’s a lot to manage and some days it feels easier to just let someone else handle it all. But how much are you willing to lose in time, money, and reputation when the relationship with that “someone else” goes bad?