What’s Your Business Contingency Plan?

“Proactive people carry their own weather with them”   -Stephen R. Covey

Obviously you can’t predict the future, but you can be proactive to be more prepared for various challenges your business might face. Being proactive includes having contingency plans in place to help you weather unexpected storms. One of the most important strategic tools you can use is a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It gives you the ability to take an in-depth look at how your business operates and to examine both positive and negative factors as well as identifying possible future external opportunities and threats. The SWOT analysis allows a business to be prepared to take advantage of those possible opportunities and be better prepared for possible threats.

A SWOT analysis is a valuable tool that can be quickly used for decision-making in a variety of areas of your business, but one area that may get overlooked is to have a plan in place if you or your team members get sick. What can you do to have a game plan ready in order to keep your business running smoothly if one or more of your team members are out sick? Here are some suggestions to develop a game plan to be prepared.

First, lay out a quick spreadsheet identifying tasks performed in your business: daily tasks, tasks on specific days, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, quarterly tasks, annual tasks and sporadic tasks.

Then identify whose job description currently takes care of each of these tasks. Be sure to put the job description by each task rather than a name as team members can change.

Now it’s time to address a contingency plan and see who might step in to fill the tasks if the person to whom they are normally assigned is out sick. It is also the time to identify where you need to develop some cross training, your best defense against indispensable team members. That includes you – particularly if you feel you are indispensable or if you are a sole practitioner. As a sole practitioner you might identify another designer with whom you share similar values, business culture, etc. and begin to develop a relationship where either of you could step in to help each other’s business in case of an emergency. Having very clear processes set up along with the spreadsheet mentioned above will go a long way to help in case a temporary emergency transition is necessary.

Also review and try to identify the time of year when team members are most often out sick – cold and flu season, etc. And review the spreadsheet and information at least once a year as tasks may change, areas of expertise of team members may change, and your business itself may take a different direction.

Just remember that “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine” so prepare ahead to keep the daily routine of your business running smoothly no matter who may be temporarily missing from the team.

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Drue Lawlor

Director of Business Transformation Coaching Drue leads our coaching and consulting. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the 12-month Strategic Business Transformation Group Coaching. The program leads the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Outside of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting she is the co-founder of Boomers with a Plan B. She is driven to help clients create a safer and healthier homes. You’ll find her in Senior Magazine and a contributor to the following books: Design for Aging: Post Occupancy Evaluations and Interior Graphic Standards, second edition.
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