Expect the Unexpected: How to Prepare Your Business

Stories like this one often start with “They never thought it would happen…but it did.” That’s exactly what happened to the city I used to call home last week when a ‘Worst Case Scenario’ bounced a weather system off the Rocky Mountains dumping unprecedented rainfall on Calgary. Needless to say, the city was unprepared for that kind of flooding, leaving many homes and businesses in ruins.

In business, there are many kinds of worst case scenario events. As a solopreneur, the worst case scenario could be something as trivial as missing a week of work because of the flu. For other businesses, it could be poor weather or high travel costs during their critical ‘money-making’ season that keeps their tourist customer base away. Whatever the worst case scenario is for your business, you had better be prepared or the unexpected you didn’t expect could cost you your business.

How to Prepare Your Business for the Worst Case Scenario

Assess Your Vulnerabilities — Identify critical weaknesses in your business. Is there a selling season you rely on? What happens in you are incapacitated for an extended period of time? What would happen if disaster struck your retail location? Imagine the worst.

Imagine the Perform Storm — Now imagine if it all happened at once. What would you do? How would your business cope? Would you be able to survive? This is where you need to focus your attention, build survivability strategies and create a worst case scenario ‘buffer’ that lessens the impact of a crisis event.

Protect Your Assets — Put structures in place that protect your business from that worst case scenario. In some cases, that may mean consulting with your insurance agent to find the right coverage to protect you against the potential risks. In others, it may mean shifting how you operate your business so you aren’t as reliant on a single revenue stream, season or key personnel.

Learn to Anticipate Threats — Know that you aren’t going to be able to predict the unpredictable, but try to anticipate changes or shifts in the marketplace that could impact your business. What events trigger a downturn in your business? High fuel costs? Low interest currency? Poor weather?

Create a Backup Plan — Plan for what you do in that worst case scenario because when you are in the middle of it, you won’t be able to think clearly enough to decide. Think of it as an Emergency Preparedness Kit for your business. What essentials do you need to survive the figurative first 72 hours after a crisis event?

This post is dedicated to all the businesses in Calgary that are now working to rebuild what was destroyed in the blink of an eye.  



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