It’s no secret that the business world is a very volatile place. Whether it’s the stock market, new technology or machine breakdowns there’s always something to roil them. But the effects of these emergencies on small businesses can be devastating. That’s why companies need to do all they can to prepare for disaster. Here’s what to do.
A lot of businesses get into the habit of thinking that their businesses are secure, humming along at a brisk pace. But it only takes a change in tastes or a simple mistake for it to all come crashing down. While it’s unhealthy to live your life in a state of paranoia, it’s a good idea when it comes to your business. You need to be aware that if something can go wrong, it probably will. Your machinery will break down; your customers will complain, and your products may even be dangerous.
That means you constantly have to be thinking about contingency plans. What if you need an emergency hose replacement for one of your machines? What if a customer sues because your product is dangerous? What if you suffer a PR disaster? All these contingencies need to be considered. And all the right measures need to be put in place.
Have Ready-To-Go Solutions
Reacting to problems as they arise is a recipe for disaster. Your business will be less nimble on its feet, and, by definition, less able to react. That’s why entrepreneurs and owners need to think several steps ahead. They need to be prepared for what is coming down the road.
That means putting in as many solutions as possible in advance. The best way to do this is to put yourself in the shoes of different people in your business. Let’s start with your staff. One of the biggest sources of problems in any business is the staff themselves. Some companies suffer from low morale, perhaps because of a lack of worker safety. Other companies suffer from a lack of employee professionalism. Still, others struggle to find people with the right skills to fill the available roles. Managers and owners need to put in place systems that prevent these issues from arising in the first place. If morale might become a problem, why not start an employee five-a-side club? Or why not offer free gym membership?
Another big problem that companies face is issues with suppliers and manufacturers. Often deliveries are late, or specifications haven’t been met. If this happens, you need a backup plan to see the business through.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, businesses need to diversify their income. This is the best way to avoid disaster. Revenue streams from disparate sources spread risk. And that, in turn, means that you’re less likely to suffer if conditions in any particular market change for the worse. Let’s say your primary business is in constructing residential properties. Suppose that that market dries up because of a fall in house prices. What then? Companies without any other type of construction work on their books will find it tough to win new building contracts. But those who do have other work in their portfolio will be able to carry on doing business.