Plan B

The prophecy of the ages was when Napoleon Hill proclaimed so many years ago, “The primary reason for failure is that people do not develop new plans to replace those plans that didn’t work.”  First of all, let’s be clear. I have found that business owners who are struggling to survive share one thing in common. None of them ever have a plan for success.  Some have semi-clear ideas of what they want to do. Few know how they will do it. None have written business plans, let alone back up strategies.

Hopes and well intentions don’t pay the bills.

Venture capital and angel investors will seldom reward an entrepreneur with funding if they cannot produce a solid business plan. And usually, if there is a business plan, the investor will have a keen eye for an included Plan B.  Murphy’s Law is real and smart investors and entrepreneurs know it. If something can go wrong, and it will, and you had better be ready for it.

The failure and weakness of many businesses that have business plans are that they are not prepared with a Plan B or C or a Plan D,  if or when the stuff does hit the fan. They traditionally will have no idea what to do when their killer idea hits a snag. Business graveyards are full of failures who were bopping along, riding a wave of success, and then when Mr. Murphy showed up, they screeched to a deadly halt. I believe that the thing that marks a real entrepreneurial business is that they expect something to go wrong and are ready for it. Envision two companies running down a path, side by side. One, traditional thinking, old school company; the other is a robust and adaptive entrepreneurial company. Imagine a roadblock that looms ahead. The conventional thinking company will skid to a halt, form a committee, and then try to determine what caused the barrier, whose fault it was and then ask for reports and action items. At the same time, the entrepreneurial company will slow, accept the fact that there is a temporary roadblock, adapt to their Plan B, and then swiftly continue at warp speed. When something unforeseen happens again, they shift to Plan C.

The business Gods are trying to teach us a lesson. Covid-19 is the mother of all roadblocks. Businesses with a Plan B have had to update their strategy, but at least they have one to update. If you do nothing for your business this month, at least do a Plan B. Take premium time and plan your crisis strategies. Take this process very seriously. Do not allow yourself to think short term with a bandaid plan, one that only temporarily adapts to the issues. Think long term alternate plans that, when implemented, will make your business even more durable over time.  If you do not take these steps, you may not have a company to build. You do not have to believe me, drive around your area and see all of the CLOSED for BUSINESS signs.

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