Running Out of Gas

BY JIM LINDELL

GOLDEN BUSINESS IDEA

othing disturbs a good fishing trip like running out of gas a long way from shore. If you took the proper precautions before leaving the dock, though, you probably have a starter rope for the engine, sufficient gas and a couple of oars. Perhaps you even minimized the potential difficulties by staying within a certain distance from shore or in relatively shallow water.

What is the connection to the business world? We all have heard the term Plan B. This technique supposedly originated with Germany’s Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who reportedly maintained a secondary battle plan inside his desk just in case Plan A was failing. There would be no hesitation or loss of time to immediately begin implementation. Does your firm have such a contingency plan?

Contingency plans should address all the ways that your firm can remain in business despite a significant catastrophe. Create one mind map of the potential disasters you could encounter, and another one of the resources it will need to remain in business. The summary of these two maps should result in an outline that addresses most of your needs. Expand the outline with detailed processes and make the plan available to all key stakeholders. Be sure to include items such as alternative facilities, alternative employees, alternative distribution channels, alternative suppliers, alternative customers, public communications and crisis team members.

—Jim Lindell, CPA
Dousman, Wis.

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