Are You Prepared?

by admin on July 22, 2013

Confusion - Sticky Notes

Looking out the window from my home office this past Saturday morning, the sun shining, I think about how fast things can change. Just last night, there was a major thunderstorm, pounding rain and lightning. The lights flickered several times and we lost power momentarily twice. Today the driveway is dry and things look so much different, you can barely tell there was a thunderstorm only 8 hours earlier.

It’s funny how things can change in the blink of an eye. It happens in our everyday lives, and it happens in our businesses as well. This led to thinking about how important it is to have procedures in place should there be a major unforeseen change in my small business.

What kind of changes can occur that could potentially impact a business? The same changes that occur in life! There are two types of changes that can occur. Positive and negative.

Negative changes could be due to perhaps a drop in sales, no cash flow, key employees leaving with no notice, issues with vendors, or the death of a partner or owner.

Positive changes could be unexpected growth in sales or clients, demand for more products or the need to hire on more employees or contractors, all due to growth that occurred rapidly.

Unforeseen changes can cause confusion and chaos in a small business, leaving the owner unsure of what steps to take next.

Not that there aren’t enough tasks to tackle as a small business owner, but now we also need to be sure there is a “Plan B” in place for these potential unforeseen circumstances.

There are several ways to prepare yourself. The first is to plan ahead. Make sure you have a solid written business plan. If you started your business without one, it’s time to get one drafted. If you have had a business plan in place for a length of time, revisit that plan and make adjustments according to how your business has changed.

Another way to be prepared is to consult with your insurance representative regarding the best types of business insurance. Some types of policies available include accidental death and dismemberment, illness, business overhead, life insurance, professional liability and business owners, to name a few. These policies will help you to be prepared for an unforeseen circumstance.

Be sure to do your due diligence regarding how to find outsourcing professionals should the need ever arise. Become familiar with the outsourcing tools, processes and resources on the internet. Also become familiar with the processes, pricing and contact information of local newspapers or online job databases so that you can quickly post a job without researching where you advertise, setting up an account with each job web site or newspaper, and the other minor details involved in posting a job. Keep that information stored somewhere so that you have quick, easy access to it should the need for outsourcing or posting a job arise.

Have a procedures manual in place. This may be one of the most important tools your office could maintain. Keeping a record of all the procedures and processes for the various departments, jobs and tasks that must be performed in order to keep your business running would be vital should an unforeseen circumstance occur that takes away key personnel. Information such as how the billing is done, where files are saved, how to access accounts, list of vendor contacts, list of clients, and other key information.

The best way to be prepared is to always plan ahead and, ideally, begin doing so from the time of business start-up. Have procedures of some kind in place, even if they are as simple as writing them in a notebook and make sure someone else involved in your business knows where to find this information.

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