Tips for Business Owners in Rocky Times

(STL.News) As an entrepreneur, there’s a lot you can do to avoid conventional pitfalls.  Unfortunately, there are also many things that can happen that you can neither anticipate nor control, and these can also lead to setbacks.  From recessions to hurricanes and pandemics to earthquakes, events that are no fault of yours can nevertheless be devastating to your company.  However, there are ways to prepare for uncertain times even when you don’t know what they might be and continue steering your business toward success.

Back-Up Plans for Your Back-Ups

You should have not just one but multiple backup plans and fail safes.  Keeping a business going after one or several unexpected negative events that you could not have planned for is a matter of triage.  You need to be able to think on your feet and determine what your priorities are.  While you cannot anticipate every possibility, you can think through some of the most likely scenarios as well as a few unlikely ones so that when something does happen, you are prepared with some kind of response plan.  However, if you have no plan at all, you can teach yourself to pivot quickly when necessary.

Be Organized

If you are already drowning in paperwork, behind on your bills and struggling in general to stay on top of things, a flood, a fire or another unexpected disaster at your place of business can be the final straw.  Having the everyday stuff in order helps you be more resilient when the not-so-everyday stuff hits.  As a sole proprietor or small business owner, this includes your personal life even when it does not overlap with your business life.  You don’t need to be expending energy worrying about your own finances when you’re trying to manage your work finances as well.  You may want to consider simplifying your personal finances as much as possible.  For example, if you are paying back several student loans, it can be easy to miss one since they all have different due dates.  Look into the possibilities for consolidating them into a single loan, which means you will only make one payment per month.

Learn to Delegate

If your delegation skills could use work, there’s nothing quite like a crisis to force you to learn. It is unlikely that you will be able to do absolutely everything that is necessary in a crisis; conversely, there are also things that only you can do and this is why that delegation is critical.  When things go wrong, you need to be able to step back and use your intimate knowledge of your business to look at the big picture and figure out which steps you need to take.  Keep in mind that while the need to delegate can happen literally overnight, ideally, you will be prepared for the possibility.  This means having employees, contractors or others that you can rely upon to do the work you need accurately with little to no supervision from you.  If you still struggling with micromanaging tendencies, one way to train yourself out of them is focusing on giving feedback to people who work for you instead of simply taking their work and fixing the things you think are wrong.