Test Your Plan To Minimize Risk
Where is your business headed, and what’s your plan? Are you trying to be all things to all people or do you have a plan to leverage your unique abilities that can make an impact on a client’s business? Or is it doing both? Maybe your plan is to grow at two times over the next five years. Whichever fork in the road you take, you’ll need a plan. A good plan turns onto a roadmap that you’ve tested against the what-ifs and other curveballs that could possibly be thrown at you.
Why is testing your plan is a good thing? The unknowns are vast in any business. They can range from losing a significant customer that could affect revenue to having a major malfunction in a key part of your operations. The function of planning and going through the "what-ifs" won’t prevent these things from happening. It will however, better prepare you for how to handle those situations should they arise. Building the plane while you are flying it doesn’t always end well.
One form of testing is to create a contingency plan. It’s not uncommon for a key account to require you to submit a contingency plan as a condition of the business relationship. They are looking out for their best interest, particularly if you are part of their supply chain. They are interested in ensuring their products arrive on time and within specification so that they don’t experience any downtime. If a contingency plan is good enough for a key account, shouldn’t it be table stakes for your business?
Methods of testing your plan are varied, and can range from simple to complex. When the unknowns do hit though, you’ll need to go to the ‘what-if’ box and pull out your strategy for handling that issue. I believe areas that should be tested against include any significant impacts to your revenue, staff, operations, and facilities. For example:
- What if — 20% of your revenue suddenly went away through lost customers, new competitors or sales reps leaving? Or, you suddenly had a 20% increase in revenue?
- What if — your most productive press went down indefinitely?
- What if — a key leader in your business resigned or became otherwise incapacitated?
- What if — a major weather event seriously impacted your facility and/or the homes of many of your employees?
These are only examples, and I hope that you never have to experience them (except for the 20% increase in revenue … ). However, these events can and do actually happen. When COVID-19 hit, almost everyone lost more than 20% of their revenue overnight. I can personally tell you that I had and offset press catch fire and it was out indefinitely. We also experienced a hurricane that left us without power for almost 2 weeks.
Proactively planning for these occurrences is not a waste of time. This exercise can help minimize risk, and can provide a sense of “we are prepared to handle almost anything.“ Anticipating these events should give you the confidence, and the roadmap to make good decisions should they ever happen.
Take a hard look at your business and create a list of areas that you feel are important and that you’d like to have a good ‘Plan B’ for. Gather your team and begin discussing the potential outcomes for each area and create a list of steps to take to work your way out of that situation. Document your contingencies and share them with your team. Finally, reach out to your outside advisors and ask them to comment on your action steps.
Regardless of where is your business headed, or what fork in the road you take, make sure that you have thought through the things that will help to keep the enterprise going should the ‘what-ifs’ become a reality.
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.