Plan For The Worst, Expect Success

Stand Apart from Competitors When Disaster Strikes

Over this past year, I’ve seen many businesses claiming that “Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we cannot offer the quality of service you have become used to…” While the turmoil of a global pandemic has affected us all, one of the essential parts of running a business is planning for setbacks that may come unexpectedly.

While it is extremely important to make sales and generate revenue, it is also extremely important to provide a high level of customer service. If you seem unwilling to back your product or service, word will get out and you will lose business. COVID-19 has been spreading out of control for over a year. As a consumer, I would think that you’ve had plenty of time to set a new plan into motion.

I recently spoke with a national package carrier about a very important package of live fish that I paid to have delivered by 10:00 am the next day. When the package hadn’t arrived by 4:30 I called and asked where my package was. I was told that I shouldn’t expect to receive it by 10:00 am because due to COVID-19 they had to cut their staff and didn’t have enough people to get everything done.  When the package finally arrived at 4:30, I asked the driver why I didn’t get the package by 10:00 like I paid for. His response was “I can’t get everything where it needs to go because of COVID-19. 

To me, it appears that this company’s management has made so many excuses about COVID that it has completely permeated throughout the organization. That can be dangerous for your business, and it sends a message that will begin to turn customers away. I order most things online and must deal with whatever carrier the seller chooses to use. If I could choose, I would NEVER choose this carrier again because of the lack of responsibility they’ve shown. We do not want our clients to ever feel that way. 

I ask my clients “what’s your plan B”, how will you be able to ensure that your doors will stay open no matter what happens. This “plan B” is better known as contingency planning. Many people believe that contingency planning is only for natural disasters or times of war. Done right, Contingency planning is much more than that. For a small business, even the small things can cause big problems. I’ve seen instances where a bad router can cripple a business. Training or lack of training can also cause problems. Computer or software issues, phones not working all should have workaround scenarios. 

A good contingency plan contains what you will do when certain situations arise AND how you will make it happen. It should include the procedures you will put in place to guarantee that you can keep the doors open, product and services flowing, and your clients happy and willing to keep doing business with you. I have been working with businesses for almost 40 years to help them plan for the worst-case scenario. It’s never easy to focus on bad things happening, but once you do, you can then turn a worst-case scenario into an opportunity you may have never gotten otherwise. 

So, no more “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic…” excuses; rise to the challenge.