February was my worst month EVER. How can you learn from it and why you shouldn’t say “it will never happen to me”
It could be even worse for you!
In three out of five small businesses I visit the same thing could happen and would be even more disastrous than it was for me. In fact I wrote something similar a couple of years ago, where I said “It could go horribly wrong; what’s your plan?”
What happened to me?
I had spent a great day working, starting by going to my favourite networking group and then spending time coaching some great clients, finally wrapping up by cementing a strategic partnership with a brilliant London design agency.
As I felt so good, I stopped for a beer with a friend and didn’t return home that night. Back into the office the next morning, a supercharged day of work developing our strategic direction (that’s what we do on Friday afternoons) and then I headed home.
Imagine the shock as I stepped into a giant puddle in the hall. Now imagine turning the lights on to find, they don’t work, water is pouring onto your head and the water main is jammed. You eventually think about phoning the insurance company and..…it’s hard to find the paperwork in the dark.
I live at the top of a hill, so no rising rivers; my loft pipes were lagged – but that was where the problem came from. I could go on at this point! I didn’t think I’d ever suffer this problem.
That was five months ago, I’m not living in my house yet. I was lucky!
What was the real damage?
- OK, so the house suffered physical damage and I can say suggest you learn from that.
- I could suggest you learn about the need for insurance and being able to access the insurance details from somewhere other than the house.
- I could point out how easily it could be your office and IT system that got flooded.
A simple what if exercise might only take you 30 minutes, with you and key staff. Brainstorm the things that might go wrong, think about which you could plan for. That would be a great exercise.
In addition to that I lost 3 months of work on my book (papers were on the floor as I was using the whole of the lounge) and the unimagined (to me at least) emotional pain of it – plus five months on I’m still losing time to builders, plumbers, kitchen planners etc. Those are things I wouldn’t have thought of.
One of the most frustrating and unexpected moments was one day when I was going to a birthday party, being a bloke I can be proud about having the present (and wrapping paper) in advance. Standing in my temporary house I had card, present, paper and no sellotape! I never would have thought of that!
What could go wrong to cause your business a big problem and what can you do in advance of it? Would you like 5 ideas to use risk to improve your business or perhaps you could “Learn from the cockroach”
I was lucky
We have a continuity plan, held by our trusty chief organiser Lisa. It has contact details for all important people that we might need and deals with a wide range of the risks that our business is subject to. My worst ever February didn’t cause us too much difficulty. But I’d like to add a big thanks to Lisa and Heather for their patience in the last few months.
What could go wrong to cause your business a big problem and what can you do in advance of it?