Every time there is a catastrophic event, I ask my potential clients if they have an emergency plan, a COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) and a business plan.
I’m not surprised at the answers, but you may….
The answers are Nope, Nope and yes. They have a business plan. How complete it is, or up to date is anyone’s guess, but they say they have one.
One out of three isn’t bad, and we’ll get back to the emergency & COOP plan in a bit, but let’s talk about the business plan.
The business plan
You spent time researching the market. Researching the product or service you wanted to sell. Devised a proforma financial or a budget and wrote up a plan. Now when I learned how to scuba dive, the instructor and books all said, “Plan your Dive and Dive your Plan!” The reason was not obvious at first, but by the next several classes extremely obvious. While scuba diving, going 1 foot deeper can mean all the difference between getting the dreaded bends or not.
If you made a business plan, you should be following that plan, until at least you revise it. When I say “you”, I mean the company. Which brings me to the emergency plan and COOP plan.
In December, Kentucky suffered its worst tornado event in its history. The path of the tornados that struck went on for 128 miles. The devastation looked like a war zone with houses, and buildings partially and completely destroyed.
With it, lives were lost, business demolished and the need for business and personal emergency plans. We’ll just briefly talk about emergency plans for business. They cover a lot of ground, from key phone numbers and companies to assist getting your business back up, such as insurance, plumbers, electricians, computer wiring, etc. One such sub-plan is the COOP plan, which has the information on what happens if the leadership is unavailable, the business office is gone.
The emergency and COOP plan allows your business to continue, maybe at a sub-par state, but still in business. Figuring out all the pieces after a disaster is not the time, as one can imagine it is a mad rush to find and secure what ever you need. Pre-planning would already have all the agreements in place.
It is almost like taking the extra set of keys and opening the door to a new office.
But when I ask these potential clients about their plans, whether it be emergency, COOP or business, I always have a follow-up question. Who knows about the plans?
If nobody but the Owner or a few people know the plan, what happens if they are unavailable? Also, if you never practiced or went over the plan so everyone understood it, and possibly improved the plan, how do you know the plans will ultimately work?
Think about it….