When Things Go Wrong
Running a business doesn’t separate you from life, nor the world around you. Things can – and do – go wrong.
Minor things occur; you get sick, a piece of machinery breaks down or your modes of communication fail, leaving you with no way to connect with the outside world. These issues are relatively easy to overcome, even if they do take a few hours or even days to sort out. You get better, your machine is fixed or your communication issues are resolved.
Unfortunately though, you’re not immune from bigger things happening, such as:
- Critical illness
- Criminal damage
- Economic crisis
- Natural or environmental disasters (e.g. fire or flood)
- Prolonged disruption to power, communications or essential materials
Your Emergency Contingency Plan
The extreme situations are often unexpected and can arise at the worst possible moment. You not only need to be prepared for them, but also have strategies in place to overcome them.
Legal Responsibilities – it’s a good idea to have a chat with your solicitor about your rights and responsibilities towards your clients and customers, staff and suppliers, as well as any leases, contracts and insurance policies.
Banking and Loans – speak to your bank about possible scenarios or, if you’re in the midst of a disaster, discuss the possibility of restructuring any of your loans (business and personal). You can negotiate an alternative repayment plan/structure for a specific period of time. This applies also to suppliers you may owe money to and other debts or loans you may have.
Communication – this is essential to ensure your ability to overcome whatever adversity it is you’re experiencing and to get back to business sooner, rather than later. It’s not just your solicitor and financial institutions you need to be speaking with, the following are just as important:
- Suppliers – let them know what’s going on, organise repayment schedules or delayed payments, but also keep them in the loop as to why orders may be slow, or late in the interim;
- Clients/Customers – they’ll be wondering why orders aren’t being delivered or why things have slowed down. Be honest about your circumstances. Many of them will be understanding and have empathy for your situation. When you’re back, send them a thank you card or small gift for their support.
- Your Industry Association – they’ll be able to assist you with restructuring and re-establishing where you left off, as well as helping with insurance, employment and other contracts, alternative suppliers, industry specific consultants and companies that can help you to manage during the crisis.
It’s a great idea to find out as much of this information as you can before an emergency strikes so you may be adequately prepared with as little disruption to your business as possible.
You can always overcome the situation when something dire goes wrong when you have a suitable contingency plan in place.