Do You Have a Back-Up Plan?

HodsonHi, my name is Mary. I’m a planner. I like lists.

I build lists, and color code them. My calendar is color coded, so I can quickly see what type of work I am scheduled to do. Yes- my family calendar at home is color coded as well. I created special planning notebooks for both of our boys’ senior years- color coded as well. I’m a planner.

And then…. one day, after a year of medical care, I was told I needed back surgery. Not the minor surgery I thought might be necessary, oh no… more like the “take three months off” kind of back surgery.

My lists were flying, my pens and markers were in high gear. But I didn’t know exactly when the surgery would happen because of various hoops and paperwork.

This threw me for the proverbial loop. How can I plan without dates, timelines, etc.?  This made me think about how we plan for the unexpected in our businesses. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow; equipment failure, unannounced upgrades, unexpected customers, employee illnesses, fire, or natural disasters.

Preparation is important in today’s business world, although many of us think it won’t happen to our business.  Emergencies can happen at any time to anyone, and replacing records, information, history, equipment, inventory, or staff, can be daunting.

Taking the time to plan can save you stress and anguish later.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin

Here’s a place to start:

  1. Identify the critical resources that keep your business running. Determine if you have backup options for these resources, and work to safeguard your resources.
  2. Identify what crisis or disasters could affect your business.
  3. Compile a plan for a crisis or disaster. If you have more than one person in your business, assign specific people to handle different tasks should a crisis happen. A book, compiled with everything related to any type of emergency, is useful for all employees.
  4. Train and Test. Train your staff and test your plan. Large companies run training drills for staff in the event of emergencies. Small companies can do the same. Much like many families run a fire drill at home so everyone knows what to do, your business can do the same.
  5. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many websites have plans outlined already for you.  www.ready.gov and  www.redcross.org/prepare are two websites that offer help to you, your business and your family.

In any moment of crisis, every business and every person, should have something to direct their next steps. Add this information into your business plan, orientation, and have it available for everyone to review.

Whether you like to plan in color coded lists, or organize in piles this is a fairly simple step to help your business be prepared in the future for anything. Happy Planning!