With last week’s Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special still fresh in our heads, we put on our Debbie Downer hat for just a few minutes to ask, is your company prepared if something goes wrong? Unlike Debbie, we don’t expect something bad to happen, but if it did, would you have a contingency plan in place?
If you said no, don’t worry. Now is the perfect time to put one together. Before you need it.
The first step is to think about what types of contingencies you are going to prepare for. To come up with some worst-case scenarios that could affect your business, gather some staff members together and start brainstorming. Begin each statement with “What would we do if?” and then start throwing out possible situations. The problems you discuss don’t have to be massive like a transit strike or a crippling blizzard to be disruptive. Mindtools.com offers up scenarios such as: “What if your main supplier suddenly goes bankrupt? Or, your entire sales force gets food poisoning at the annual sales conference? Or, your payroll clerk calls in sick on payroll day?
“These things can all cause confusion and disorder if you haven’t prepared for them properly. Contingency planning is a key part of this preparation. As you can see, contingency planning is not just about major disasters. On a smaller scale, it’s about preparing for events such as the loss of data, people, customers, and suppliers, and other disruptive unknowns. That’s why it’s important to make contingency planning a normal part of the way your business works.”
While the sun is shining and everyone is calm, go ahead and think the worst. You’ll be glad you did.