I have a great deal of respect for my father-in-law, who spent his career running a mining equipment manufacturing business, and often went to him for business advice in my younger years. A reoccurring theme that I heard was the familiar Benjamin Franklin quote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And how right both Benjamin and my father-in-law were!
I see all sorts of businesses that get into trouble today which might have been prevented if only they had they been prepared. After all, isn’t it better trying to keep a problem from happening rather than trying to fix it after it already happened?
Alright, it’s just common sense, right? Of course it is! But are you really prepared for different situations that can happen in your business? You see, too often we focus on being prepared for the big things…the disasters. But are you prepared for common disturbances that could happen on any day, at any time? For instance, what would you do if one of your key employees left unexpectedly? How about if you lost your biggest customer? Are you really prepared for vacations and illnesses? You see, good business is being prepared for anything!
When I have tough decisions to make, I try to look at them from three different viewpoints. First, the way I think, (hope), the way things should go; second, the possibility of getting even better results than what I ever thought would happen; and third, (the most uncomfortable), from the viewpoint that I was totally wrong and this just isn’t going to work at all. Next, you have to play the “what if” game. If things go exactly how you thought they would, how is it going to impact your business? Do you have all the resources that you need to take on that extra challenge? What if things really sky-rocketed and things go way beyond what you thought? Believe me, there are many problems that could arrive from this as well. Are you totally prepared for that possibility? Or, how about if things go really sour? Would your business even be able to survive under that particular scenario?
Business planning and preparation can be fun, yet so many business owners neglect this, (which is just another example of the business running them instead of them running the business). Let’s face it; all sorts of unexpected things can happen overnight that can totally change your business. The question is…how well prepared are you if it does?
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