Challenge your contingency business plans

• November 3rd, 2008

Contingency planning in small & medium businesses (SMB’s) may not be as complex as in an international enterprise, but there are challenging constraints to overcome that the larger firms have the resources to solve.

Disaster recover, contingency plans, and business continuity – all three are topics that most managers and owners store away in the back of their mind, hoping the proverbial storm will never hit.

As you think/worry about the unexpected, remote possibility of a disaster, it makes you feel uneasy and hasty to dismiss the energy necessary to develop even a basic, rudimentary plan. It is tough to think about losing years of work and assets, but spending a small amount of time to possibly preserve your work is worth the time and thought.

Resource challenges of SMB’s include:

  • Time
  • People
  • Budget / Capital

These main three are always the challenges of a smaller organization. But one of the greatest advantages is your size. You don’t need to go three (or five) levels up for approval to adapt and do what is right. Capitalize on your ability to react promptly and be nimble to market fluctuations.

Preparation is vital – as General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,

“The planning is more important than the plan”

In previous work with clients using our planning models, we’ve discovered better ways for them to operate, simply by preparing for a disruption in operations or a change in a service. The value again is in the planning and work we do to formulate the plans. The new ideas and strategies are “icing on the cake”; the benefit of spending the time and energy on minimizing threats and the unexpected.

Of the organizations that have drafted plans, probably few have updated or tested those plans within the last two years, if at all. As with any new venture, testing and tracking the effectiveness is next (and vital). It’s not a separate process, but one intertwined within the planning. Just having a plan is a false sense of security. The plan needs to evolve and continue to be tested. It will force a better, proven end result.

Growing your organization is a process, and ensuring its sustainability is an on-going strategy in itself. Prepare for challenges along the way, but have a diverse set of solutions to use if needed.

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