Feb 07 2012

WHAT “Contingency Plan”?

Feeling Invincible? . . .

Think Only Wussy Types


Fret Over “What If” Stuff?


Perhaps consciousness of the fragility of life has never struck you or your business full force. Perhaps you’ve somehow managed to escape the anguish, angst, and fears attached to the reality of your own or the life of someone close hanging by a thread. Perhaps you’re too young or too lucky or too blessed to have ever known the stress of having machines do the breathing and feeding and medicating and pain management?  



If that is even partly true of you, don’t let today pass without giving it at least a few moments of thought. Why? Because just as a business with no sign is a sign of no business, a business or business leader without good health — or a poor-health contingency plan– is the sign of a sick or unhealthy business.

“Nah,” a strong-willed 30-something entrepreneur responded to that idea, “My business is healthy,” he said, “and I have no provision for disaster because I work our regularly and I’m in good shape, we have a long-term lease, our customer base is growing steadily, and prospective investors are standing in line!”

“But surely,” I offered, “you have some kind of insurance coverage? Fire and theft? An office policy? Collision? Life? Health?” He cocked his head as if I’d hit him with an illegal punch, “Sure, but so what? THAT is MY contingency plan. Things go south? I just file claims and collect enough to start something else!”

“That’s good,” I said, “because burglaries and fires and tsunamis and earthquakes and hurricanes and tornados do happen, but I’m talking about catastrophic illness. That happens too.” Ask around. You’ll find plenty of people who’ve experienced sudden ill health, who suffered, and whose businesses suffered because they had no contingency plan.

When that “CLOSED DUE TO FAMILY ILLNESS” sign goes up on the front door (or website), dwindling (sometimes plummeting) customer loyalty and support follow. We live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? society.

Are you ready to face critical damage to your revenue stream and threats to the life support system your enterprise has routinely fostered?


What steps will you take and in what order? Or who will pinch-hit for you? What impact can your suppliers and customers expect, and how –specifically– will they be dealt with to accommodate their needs and to keep things running and moving forward? What gears will need to be shifted? By whom? When?

The time to deal with contingency planning is now, and to re-visit the plan at least once a year. The cost to plan is time. The cost to cope without a plan can be annihilating. It’s certainly true that expectations breed disappointment, but it’s equally true that having no plan is like captaining a rudderless ship.

And then there’re storms . . . 


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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 28 2009


A business with no sign


is a sign of no business!


     Even if you’re running a business  out of your basement or garage or attic, and even if it’s illegal to have a sign outside, at least have one inside. If for no other reason than that the occasional visitor will be impressed, the IRS will give you less hassle about writing off a percentage of rent or mortgage and utilities, and –most important– it will make you feel good. 

     It doesn’t have to be a Times Square  smoke-blowing LED display spectacular. A piece of wood or cardboard will do just fine. The point is to give your business an identity. If you don’t who will? And when was the last time you had business dealings with, or rode through the desert on a horse with no name?  

     Okay, now let’s get to those eleven or so businesses  that are still not run out of the home. (That was a joke. My wife always urges me to announce a joke when I have a straight face like I did just then.)

Bottom line is that people judge

your business and you on first

impressions (and you’ll never

get a second one!)


     And many first impressions are at least formed in a large part by the sign on your building and/or in your window and or parking lot. 

     That sign needs to stand out.  It needs to communicate what you’re all about. It needs to be clean and attractive, visible and well-lit. Shrubs in the way? Trim them. Dirty frame? Wash or paint it. Bulbs out? Replace them. A sculpting studi0 I worked with uses lettering that is so thin and so fancy, it can’t be read when you’re parked next to it, never mind driving by.

A shabby sign tells people

you have a shabby business. 


     Replace or refresh it. A fish business has 20 signs on scrap wood that look like a 3 year-old spray-painted them. I drove past regularly for three years and refused to go there, thinking the fish couldn’t possibly be fresh.

     I finally stopped there one day out of curiosity  about they could still be in business. Now, I wouldn’t buy fish anywhere else. Aha!, you say, so lousy signs work. Actually, I think of it more that they lost my weekly business for three years; that’s a long time to court a prospective customer. 

     Your sign is your face. 


     How many days would you go without checking out your face in a mirror? Why would you not look at your own sign for weeks on end? In today’s economy, it’s not a good idea to have a less than perfect sign showing for even 24 hours! An ineffective sign is a sign of an ineffective business… yes, even in your basement, attic, or garage!           

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Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone!


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