How to prepare your small business for the unexpected

How to prepare your small business for the unexpected

Unexpected events, by definition, can occur at any time and they can bring a series of unpleasant consequences with them. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a robbery, data loss, fraud or a bad financial investment, no business is immune to crisis. 

If large, well-established companies have greater chances of recovery after taking a hit, having more resources they can rely on, small businesses are much more vulnerable in these situations. What might be perceived as a bump in the road for bigger players in your industry, can spell disaster for your small company if you don’t know how to handle the challenge. 

Since you don’t have a crystal ball that can predict things before they happen, the least you could do is prepare for the unexpected. Adopting a hope for the best, plan for the worst philosophy can help you overcome many difficult moments in your entrepreneurial journey.  

So, here are a few steps you should consider if you want to minimize or avoid damages altogether when you find yourself in unforeseen circumstances.

Diversify and grow your customer base

So, you got your business up and running and you already have a few loyal customers that you can count on. That’s great, but keep in mind that there are probably hundreds or thousands of other businesses out there providing products/services similar to yours, so customers can leave you at any time for one of your competitors. 

That’s why you should never rely only on your current clients to bring in money and keep your business afloat. You should always strive to diversify and grow your customer base as much as you can. Regardless of how successful your business is at the moment, it’s absolutely vital to continue to attract new clients. Try to rethink your marketing strategy and adopt tactics that can bring you closer to your target audience when things seem to come to a standstill in this respect.  

Create an emergency fund

Just because you’ve planned your budget down to the very last detail it doesn’t mean that everything will go according to plan. In fact, you can be sure that something will come up along the way and disrupt your carefully devised strategy. A rough patch is enough to throw you off balance and affect your business’ financial health. 

But all that can be avoided if you are cautious enough and create an emergency fund. So next time when you lose customers, sales take a dive or you run into an unexpected technical issue that stops you from operating at full capacity for a while, you’ll have your back covered. Having a solid cash reserve can cover expenses and buy you time while you’re working to get your business back on track.  

Research equipment costs

A business can only function properly if it has the necessary tools and equipment. However, many business owners make the mistake of underestimating equipment costs when they start their entrepreneurial venture. What’s more, a lot of them fail to take into consideration maintenance and repair costs, and that’s how they end up relying on faulty or low-performing equipment.  

If a piece of machinery breaks down, you have to be prepared to repair it or replace it, as necessary. If you experience a boiler malfunction for example, a boiler rental service can help you save time and money until you fix the issue. So, you have to do your research, find all the equipment items your business requires and calculate the related costs. 

Take into account clients’ changing needs 

In the fast-paced business environment of today, clients’ needs change all the time. As technology continues to evolve and new products and services hit the market, people’s expectations keep increasing. Since everything around you is in a constant state of transformation, you have to work hard to stay up to date with what customers want and expect from you. 

If you’re not flexible enough and you don’t know how to adapt your business to the new demands, you risk falling behind in the competition. Performing market research on a regular basis and keeping a close eye on your target audience can help you avoid unpleasant scenarios.    

Adopt an innovation mindset

Since we’re talking about change and evolution, we must also mention the need for innovation. No business ever thrived by following the if it’s not broken, don’t fix it motto. This is the worst advice you can get as a business owner. It’s innovation and the implementation of new ideas that drive a business forward and lead it on the path to success.  

It’s true that innovation comes with risks, but there can hardly be any growth without embracing risks. So, instead of relying on your old ways, hoping they will work forever, try to adopt an innovation mindset in your business and be open to new ideas and strategies.   

Protect your assets 

Embracing innovation doesn’t mean you should ignore what you already have and focus only on the future. You can only upgrade and reach new levels in your business if you know how to maintain and protect your current assets from damage or loss.

As we’ve made it pretty clear by now, there are risks and hazards at every turn when running a business, which means you have to take several precautionary steps if you want to be on the safe side. The most important measures are developing a solid health and safety policy and purchasing the right insurance coverage for your business. This can help reduce risks and keep major losses at bay. 

Develop a disaster plan 

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are and how much time and resources you invest in keeping your business safe, unpleasant surprises still occur. When a crisis comes your way and threatens the stability of your business, it can be extremely difficult to keep a cool head and manage things with calm. 

However, if you have a disaster plan in place with all the steps you have to follow in such circumstances, you’ll find it a lot easier to deal with emergencies in a timely manner and limit the extent of the damage.