I have been in business – the same business for over 23 years. Not a lot of businesses achieve that and to be honest there has been many a time if I wondered if I’d still be here in a year’s time. After all, small businesses are tough.
But there is one key element, which has really contributed to this longevity. I have always had a Plan B.
I have always been a strategist – a name well above my station when I had a diddly company but one more befitting now and I believe it is the key ingredient to success. Because many MANY businesses fail when Plan A just doesn’t work – you have to have a plan B.
Take Citylink falling over at Xmas – if that had been our only carrier option then we would have been buggered frankly. But part of our limitation of risks is to hold multiple accounts with carriers – it’s planning for the worse case scenario.
We have a back up phone system, a ‘what happens if we don’t hit our targets’ cash flow plan, an alternative software provider – so if shit did hit the fan and one of these things happened we may well be knocked off our feet briefly, but we’d be able to pick ourselves up, shake ourselves off and look at our Plan B.
And how many companies were buggered during the height of the recession when banks wouldn’t give them funding, or withdrew their overdrafts. They were too reliant on one source. We always have a Plan B – whether it was a house that I chucked into the mix in 2012 when the bank wouldn’t fund our expansion plans, or alternative funding providers now – I wont allow us as business to face just one option. It’s just too risky.
That even goes for team resources too. If you have too many balls in one basket, or a key member that makes themselves irreplaceable that’s very good for them and very bad for you. They hold too many of the cards. And as proprietor/CEO/MD your jobs as Chief Strategist is to spread your risk for the sake of business stability.
You always have to have a Plan B.
You don’t have to use your Plan B, clearly. But it helps you sleep at night, it will help you react when things go wrong, and it will aid not only the lowering of your blood pressure but the stability of your business. Because if something goes wrong, and it will when you least expect it, then your Plan B is going to be your life raft.
Go brainstorm your business – look at key areas – staffing, software, IT infrastructure, telecoms, finance and write our your Plan A’s and then write out your Plan B’s. If you’ve got big hole in your Plan B this is where it is very worth while investing your time on in the next few weeks.
Reduce your risk – increase your long-term stability. Now we all want that now don’t we?
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Go have a great week.