Well, yes. Here in coastal North Carolina we are keeping a vigilant eye on Irene as she pummels her way up the eastern seaboard. I’m going to preface this post by admitting to understanding it is obvious in nature and a bit simple – but it is on my mind, so here goes:
1. Prepare – Those of us that have gone through a storm of any particular size know the importance of preparation. We make sure our batteries are stocked, if we have a generator, we make sure it’s in working order. We make sure propane tanks of grills are full, we even make sure the wine cabinet is stocked! We make sure we know where our important documents are, in case they need to be grabbed toot-sweet.
Small businesses also need to make sure they have their catastrophic “kits” prepared and ready to be deployed. We are often managed and run by a single person or a small team. We need to spend some time imagining what events could threaten us and prepare accordingly.
2. Plan – Driving home last evening I was surrounded by a calm and beautiful sky. However, as is always the case with impending storms, I could sense the tension in others as they made their preparations and plans. It got me wondering what it was like before we relied so heavily on meteorologist to forewarn us. Were the senses of the citizens more in tune with the atmosphere? Or did the storm roll in undetected?
As small businesses we need to avail ourselves to every tool out there that is readily available. We need to listen to forecasters and learn how to read the signs of the market. We need to look for opportunities to take advantage of, as well as those that present potential danger (some clients are just not worth dealing with!)
3. Seek Shelter – It never ceases to amaze me when I see people out driving around or taking chances during a storm. Especially those right on the coast who “refuse” to leave – and then it’s too late.They’re stuck.
As a small business owner, don’t be “that person” who waits it out. If you have a great idea (or what you think is a great idea), by all means research it, weigh the pros and cons, try it out. If it fails and you don’t have a solution to fix it, know when to let it go. Don’t keep wasting your time, energy, and money because your ego won’t let it lie.
Likewise, if you have a perplexing problem in any area of your business, seek the shelter of a professional before it’s too late. They have means, education and where with all to assess the problem accurately and remove the burden from your business!
4. Don’t Believe the Hype – I remember one storm I went through years ago where we lost power for a few hours so I went without phone, tv etc. We were fine. We actually had a good time playing games, reading books, doing stuff we don’t normally take the time to do when we have electricity. Hours later when the power was restored I had several frantic messages from my older brother (bless his heart) who had the “luxury” of watching the media report the hurricane from our local beach town. When he saw the port-o-john fly past in the background he panicked. The news is saying it’s bad, it must be, right?
As small businesses, if have planned, if we have prepared, if we have taken shelter then we should be savvy enough to know the difference between attention getting scare tactics versus real and valid news that will help you grow your business.
What other ways can you compare management of a small business to a Category 3 Hurricane?