Are You Prepared for Business Curveballs?


In business, as in life, not everything goes to plan. Often our perfectly balanced schedules fall apart thanks to badly timed business curveballs. If you’ve done the work to prepare for these curveballs in advance this is likely to be nothing but an inconvenience. However, if you haven’t got a plan in place for these eventualities, you may find they turn into a much bigger problem.

Below I’ve shared a three step plan for dealing with business curveballs.

Step one: define what could your curveballs could be

The whole point of a curveball is that it’s unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a clear idea of the kind of issues you might be affected by. Making a list of things that could crop up is a great first step for making sure you’re prepared for them.

Consider things like:

  • childcare problems
  • illness (for you or a family member)
  • family tragedy
  • computer or other equipment problems
  • vehicle problems
  • power cuts
  • website problems
  • email or phone issues
  • customer complaints
  • flood/fire/theft
  • employee trouble

Step two: get your back up in place

If any of these things crop up, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly who to call. If you run a business with employees, this step will be about deciding which of them are prepared to take responsibility for which kind of problems, or who can step in to deputise for you if you have to be out of the office for a while.

Smaller business owners who work alone might find this step trickier, but taking the time to make sure you have people on side will be extremely valuable should you need them. Think of it this way: would you rather find an I.T. support service while your tech is all running smoothly, or would you rather scramble to find someone when your computer is down and you’re losing working hours? The more professionals you have waiting on the sidelines, the quicker you’ll be able to get back up and running should the need arise.

Step Three: design your processes with breathing room

Some of the most frequent business curveballs come in the form of tech problems, childcare falling though or illness. Though these things look different on the surface, they all boil down to the same thing: lost working time. To try and limit the damage these kind of curveballs cause, it can be wise to get into the habit of working with breathing room to spare. The way you do this will depend on the kind of business you run.

If you work within an appointment-heavy field, perhaps you could consider keeping the last appointment slot of the week empty in order to allow for unexpected events. If you work with a lot of retainer clients, you may want to experiment with working a week ahead to allow for delays. Whatever kind of work you do, aim to design your processes with breathing room so that when curveballs do arrive, you’ve got some wiggle-space.

How have you prepared for business curveballs?

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