If something disastrous were to happen to you tomorrow, what plans do you have in place to make sure your business continues to operate? The motto "Be Prepared" may be used by the Boy Scouts, but it is just as important in our daily lives as it is in our businesses. Should a disaster occur, by creating contingency plans for your business, you eliminate the worry and stress caused by trying to come up with a solution in the thick of the situation.
Before a business owner can truly figure out how they would handle an obstacle thrown in their path, it is important to take a step back and think about what possible disasters could occur. This is a very unsettling task for many business owners, but for those who have taken the time to map out how an emergency would be handled; the success rate of overcoming that emergency relatively unscathed is much higher. The biggest hurdle for most in writing contingency plans is determining which areas are most important. Perhaps rather than trying to look at the whole picture and trying to think about every conceivable "what if", the best way to handle this almost impossible task may be to break it down into 4 main considerations - political, economical, sociological and technological.
Consideration #1 - Political Considerations Political considerations include such things as legislation and how these changes might affect your business. For example, what impact would an increase in sales tax have on your business? If you are relying on government funding and tomorrow the government decided that they had run out of funding for that particular program, where would you find the monies to replace the lost revenue? Other political considerations might include employment laws, trade restrictions and trade agreements. By determining the impact each possible change might have in your business you can take precautions to plan for these changes.
Consideration #2 - Economical Considerations The economy plays a large role in business. Changes in the economy affect consumer confidence which in turn affects business. Another consideration is global events, it is important to stay on top of what is going around in not only your community, but also the country and the world and what possible affect that might have on your business.
Consideration #3 - Sociological Considerations Today's marketplace is affected just as much by our political and economic culture as it is by fads. Ensuring a thriving business is only possible by staying ahead of current fads and making sure your product or service will not be affected as society ages, changes and grows.
Consideration #4 - Technological Considerations Staying on the "cutting edge" in today's society can sometimes be a tricky proposition. Technology always seems to be advancing faster than we can keep up. Just when we learn how to master a new product, program or skill, there is a newer, faster and more efficient model to take its place. Staying on top of those changes and advancements will play a huge factor in whether your business will thrive or not.
Of course the ultimate contingency plan includes a plan to ensure your business continues to thrive upon your death. By establishing a Procedure Manual for your business now, you will position your business to overcome the greatest obstacle of all. All other obstacles can be faced head on with the knowledge you have worked diligently towards creating your own thriving business.