Oct 28, 2020

Plan. Don't Panic!

by Jodi Freeman

What happens when life throws you or your business a curveball?  Do you panic, or do you have a plan?  

The answer should be that you have a plan, and not be left scrambling.  Call it being proactive.  It’s difficult to think clearly when you’re in a panic.  Stressing and fumbling to come up with answers is never fun when curveballs are flying at our faces. 

This year feels like it has been one giant contingency plan.  How many of us were cruising along with the status quo until mid-March?  Even back in January, when we first heard about a possible pandemic, I just shrugged it off.  I was thinking about what “Vision 2020” looked like for my business.  I know others who did the same.

When spring rolled in, many of us were in a mess and wondering what the next few weeks would look like.  Then what we were worried about for “just a few weeks” started looking like it might be around a month or two. Now, we’re several months into all sorts of unprecedented obstacles and situations.  So how do we overcome these challenges?

Contingency plans allow us to overcome the unexpected without throwing ourselves into a tailspin.  How do you go about developing a contingency plan for your business?  First, take a hard look at what your business might look like without a plan.  Will you exist when the next crisis strikes? What if “they” (whatever outside forces in your world) require you to keep reduced hours, have fewer customers, or close temporarily?  What can you do to keep your business afloat?  The key here is to find what gives you the best advantages outside of the regular scope of your business and begin to develop your plan based on those advantages.

Networking as part of a well-structured, well-organized group such as BNI, presents a perfect opportunity and resource to develop your plan.  When you’re working consistently with a group of people you know, like, and trust, you have a force behind you to help and support you.  They are perfect to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off.  You’ll know motivators who can compassionately push you forward or rein you in.  Others will step in and help lift your business up when you’re struggling.  And someone else might grab you by the shirttails and pull you back from the ledge, if necessary.

BNI International has impressed me beyond comprehension with their planning.  Months before the word “pandemic” started floating around, BNI leadership starting thinking “What if?”  What if we have a global crisis of some sort? What would a national crisis, even a regional crisis do to us?  They started building contingency plans for what BNI could look like in the event we can’t meet in person. Within days of most of the world shutting down in-person meetings, BNI took that plan and put it in motion.  At the same time, they started planning for the eventual reopening of in-person meetings.  

Today, business looks a lot different than it did a year ago. Those who had contingency plans, even if they weren’t complete, are typically in a much better position than those who did not. Those who didn’t either learned the hard way to get a contingency plan in place or, sadly, shuttered their businesses for good.  I hope that you are on the way to building great relationships within your network who can help you develop a contingency plan and support you along the way.

Which position will you be in when the next curveball comes?

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