If there is anything that the past year has taught businesses, it is that absolutely anything can happen—even a global pandemic that suddenly kept people in their homes. COVID-19 transformed life as we know it. It forced every entrepreneur to take a pause and reevaluate how to move forward from there.
When these unexpected events occur, businesses that are not positioned to respond will have an altogether harder time staying afloat or closing up shop permanently. A small business does not always have the resources to respond perfectly, but don’t worry. There are several ways you can soften the blow or even avoid issues from cropping up as you navigate these unpredictable times.
How to Plan for the Unknown
Small business owners and employees often have to juggle multiple responsibilities all at once. These are some ways you can avoid getting overwhelmed when things don’t happen as expected.
Have emergency/disaster preparedness meetings and seminars
Preparing for the unexpected means anticipating the occurrence of various threats. This entails ensuring that your employees know what they have to do in case of emergencies such as robberies, violent protests, and shootings. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes also require quick and clear responses.
Since your team may not be qualified to devise the proper evacuation and communication plans for such events, it is best to approach companies who are well versed in this area. Critical Path Solutions is one such organization that can assess threats and help your company plan and prepare for these.
Calling experts to train your team can even help you enforce protocols during the pandemic when the uncertainty caused by new variants still necessitates strict protocols.
Set up an emergency fund
Unexpected interruptions can significantly impact the amount of money that flows into your business. Even before this occurs, it is best to set up a business emergency fund that can keep you functioning for at least six months should something happen.
This, of course, reduces the amount of money you can use on other investments. However, it comes in handy when you have to pay off various fees and expenses that you take on in an emergency.
The Small Business Administration also offers support for small businesses that are struggling. See if you are qualified to get a loan in the event of a major loss of cash inflow for your business.
Back up all important files and documents
With or without a threat looming in the background, it is simply a wise practice for a business to have multiple copies of its important documents throughout the year. Produce copies after every change you make, too, so that the files you have are always the updated ones.
This involves safeguarding the information of your business, your employees, and your customers by duplicating them both digitally and physically. Ensure that the place you store them is also secure, where no malicious person can easily access the files.
Stay on top of your taxes
Although it can be one of the least exciting parts of managing a business, do not wait until the last minute to deal with your taxes. Timely tax payments prevent any complications caused by unexpected events that could interrupt your business’s regular schedules. When you regularly pay your taxes on time or even ahead of time, you will have peace of mind that your business can keep running smoothly as you deal with the other responsibilities of unexpected events.
Diversify your sources of income
Having a sense of stability is difficult for any business if they have only one or two clients who act as the primary source of income. Avoid the devastating effects of losing a big client by making sure you are serving various clients at any one point.
Keep in mind, though, that you should take on more clients while keeping the productive capacity of your employees in mind. It just becomes counterproductive to make your workplace busier while neglecting the health and well-being of your team members, whose workloads will increase.
Prepare by Prioritizing Employees
One aspect of effective planning for unexpected events that many entrepreneurs tend to overlook is that it is not just about pursuing the best route for your business. It is about making sure that your employees are treated as the priority through all the complications that may arise.
As you develop your own business plans, remember that employees are the hands and feet that keep the business moving forward. It is just as important to take care of them and protect them during difficult times.