Small Business Continuity & Contingency Planning

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When most small business owners think of business continuity or business contingency planning, they’re thinking of disaster-type scenarios:

  • natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, etc.
  • fires or other tragedies which destroy your office
  • total computer meltdown where you lose everything and discover your backup never backed up

It’s critical to have a plan in place for any of the above — unless you’re ready, willing and mentally-financially-time-able to start everything over.

Yet this isn’t the business continuity and contingency planning I’m talking about today.  Instead, I want to discuss the “my eggs are all in one basket” syndrome which plagues many small businesses.

When you offer one service, one product or program and something happens — whether the economy dips, a competitor comes out with a stronger product or that product/program depends on you and you become incapacitated for any reason or Mother Nature unleashes her wrath on your office — your business is in trouble.

No matter how great and innovative your business plan and marketing are, there are times when you’re going to want/need a “Plan B”.  The savvy business owner, creates and begins implementing that Plan B before it’s necessary.

Another way to think of your Plan B or business continuity plan is to create multiple streams of revenue.  If something happens with one stream, it’s “okay” as others back it up — this is where true business continuity and sustainability happen.

Some simple ways to incorporate multiple streams of revenue include:

  • converting live programs into passively-delivered programs
  • creating products (and marketing plans for them) so they sell themselves
  • determining what other problems exist for your clients and solving them. . .as either an incentive to invest with you or as a separate revenue stream
  • partnerships where someone pays you to license or private label your materials
  • strategic partnerships where you and a colleague collaborate and offer a program, product or service together

Each of the above is part of my business.  If one revenue stream dips, it’s okay.  If two revenue streams dip, I’m concerned, but not scared.  My mortgage will still get paid.

You get the idea.  True business continuity is about defying the odds.  Beating the statistics which state that most small businesses fail.  It’s about setting your business up to succeed no matter what.

There are very few small business owners I know who have done this.  The question is will you become one of them?


My Request to You

If you were to take a hard, objective look at your business, what would you find?  From the numbers (scary I know!) to your revenue streams to the number of hours you work and your total joy level when in your business, what would you find?

Grab pen and paper and write it down.  This is critical.  Don’t just keep it in your head.  Write it down.  Read it.  Then write down what you’d like your business to reflect.

Read that 2-3 times.

Now you have where you are and where you want to be.  Toss it, recycle it, burn it.  And get started.