It is tempting for business people to imitate ostriches by sticking their heads in the sand and not thinking about what is happening around them, but the slowed economy, the war in Iraq, reluctant investors, and increased corporate business taxes are all realities.
Aldonna Ambler, president of AMBLER Growth Strategy Consultants, Inc. says, “There are ten steps to achieving resilience during times like these.”
One of the ten steps is contingency planning. Many business people are reluctant to do contingency planning because they assume that the process will upset employees or be too depressing for managers, but Ambler has found that employees feel reassured when they are sure that their employers would know what to do if/when something goes wrong.
Create a list of what is most important to your business. Examples include your company’s largest customers, key employees, a unique process, inventory, intellectual property, your reputation, or data bases.
Estimate the value of each item on the list. If an actual dollar value can not be readily obtained for an item on that list, try to estimate what it would cost the business to replace the item.
Play “What if.” Imagine what could happen to disrupt, damage, or eliminate each item on the “most important” list. For example, natural disaster, a terrorist attack, a computer virus, theft, or failing to back up information could compromise a data base.
Generate ideas about how the business could respond to each “What if.” You may be pleasantly surprised to see how many catastrophes can be addressed by existing people within your current budget. Estimate the costs associated with those responses.
Brainstorm ways to prevent each “What if.” Again, you may be pleasantly surprised to see how many potential disasters can be prevented within your existing budget. A valuable data base can be protected by remembering to back up information and store duplicates off site.
Play the odds. Guess the probability of each “what if” actually happening. For example, you could conclude that destruction of your physical property from natural disaster is very unlikely if it would take a level 5 hurricane to destroy it, but, as so many business owners learn during the winter, you could have a 1 in 5 chance of serious loss if your roof can not withstand the weight of heavy snow.
Let the numbers tell you what to do. For example, if your reputation is very valuable to your business, the costs associated with replacing it would be high and the likelihood of nasty rumors or innuendo that could cause great harm is high, it would pay for you to invest in a crisis communication plan especially during times like these.
Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions. Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companiesachieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search. 2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available at www.GrowthStrategistShow.com. She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at Aldonna@AMBLER.com.