Last week I experienced an unexpected yet fantastic event. One that as a small business owner would change my way of going about conducting my business forever… One that as a small business owner could potentially devastate my business… That is of course if I allowed it to by not planning for it well enough. I didn’t have a business contingency plan in place.
The event I’m speaking of was the birth of my daughter – the contingency was that she was born 2 months early… 2 months early with no advanced notice. Although personally and professionally I was prepared for and extremely excited about her coming, being a first-time Dad, there were some unknowns… unknowns that I did not foresee.
Unknowns such as:
- The emotional wear and tear on my wife and I of having to leave our daughter behind at the hospital’s Neonatal ICU for an unknown length of time. This level of personal strain most likely would seep into anyone’s professional life.
- Or, the time needed to run back and forth to the hospital every day, sometimes several times a day to be with our daughter for hours at a clip. For me, this has definitely presented several challenges including time management, scheduling, availability, client satisfaction and others as well.
And I can go on and on and on here. My point is not to sound like I’m whining or looking for sympathy or something like that but, to share some of my experience in order to help you better plan for unforeseen contingencies.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t mean to speak coldly about something so glorious as the birth of my child, or the birth of any child for that matter. It’s just that contingencies such as this one do present challenges for the small business owner and need to be thought through both objectively and thoroughly and planned for carefully to minimize any potential negative impact on your business.
It’s important to note that contingencies for the small business owner come in all shapes and sizes: There are personal-related contingencies like I’ve shared with you here; there are business-related contingencies such as too many orders coming in an once – so many that you are not equipped to handle them all; and there are natural contingencies such as inclement weather that causes flooding or power outages.
So in closing, the bottom line is there will always be contingencies. And your ability to objectively think through and carefully plan for the various possibilities they may present your business will determine the depth of their negative impact on you. So do yourself and your business a major favor and don’t wait until you’re in the middle of a contingency to begin preparing for it as decisions made under duress typically are expensive ones and can hurt you. A little contingency plan goes a long way.
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