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Planning for All Possibilities

August 31, 2011

As Hurricane Irene created havoc this week for government officials, home owners, travelers, and companies up and down the eastern seaboard, an important business issue surfaced. A majority of the time, people including entrepreneurs don’t operate in a “worst case scenario” mindset. We want to believe only positive situations will occur in our personal and corporate lives. To think differently, would mark us as pessimists and lead to unnecessary worry.

But planning for worst case scenarios doesn’t mean you are a pessimist. It means you recognize uncontrollable circumstances can subtly or dramatically alter small and big decisions. Planning a vacation on the eastern seaboard during Hurricane season, buying a business in a flood zone, and hosting an outside client event means you could encounter situations that need alternative plans. The simple act of trying to send a time sensitive Federal Express box this week to an Albany client needed adjustments since the Thruway was closed because of hurricane flooding. Who could have planned for that a few weeks ago?

I learned five years ago when my father passed away suddenly and I was two weeks away from managing a major client event, that I had to pay attention to worst case scenarios. I learned I needed to have future emergency “event management” plans for my clients, staff and myself. I created new communication plans and interviewed back-up staff to handle major interruptions that might occur in the future. I never imagined in a moment I might need to walk away from my business and leave it unattended. But in life, all things are possible so you have to plan for all possibilities.

Today’s post is to encourage you to take some time to think about how you would handle a major unexpected disruption in your business. If you were facing a tornado or flood, do you have backup documents and computers in another location? If a major family member passed away, who could handle responsibilities while you were away and how would you communicate your absence to customers? If you lost revenue due to major storms, do you have a timeline to recoup lost sales?

By nature we don’t want to think the worst can happen. Sometimes we barely have enough time to plan for the best case scenarios. But as we learned this week from Hurricane Irene, having, knowing and implementing a plan can save valuable time and resources and soften the blow you’ll feel from the unexpected circumstances that inevitably knock at the door.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 31, 2011 10:29 am

    Two weeks before the Nashville floods I final started using an online backup system for my business. Thankfully we didn’t have any damage personally, but it was such a comfort knowing my entire business was safely away from the disaster –

    Your blog today is a great reminder to think through Plan A, B and C just in case!

    Thanks Tracy!

    Like

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