(Photo: Michail_Petrov-96 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

(Photo:Michail_Petrov-96 /Stock / Getty Images Plus)

Business growth is a good thing, but only if you are prepared.

If you were to land the contract or client of your dreams, could you handle it?

In every industry there are variables. This can be the weather, available financing, recruiting the right talent, training and retaining them and having a clean safety record.

All of these factors weigh on the minds of small business owners.

My consulting work occasionally leads to working for law firms as an expert witness. One thing that I’ve learned is that most cases don’t make it to trial.

You win your case by proving that you did it right. You do that by proving you were prepared for reasonably conceivable circumstances.

In the snow and ice management industry, work is done during highly unpredictable conditions. Companies get hired to make the unpredictable as manageable as possible.

They do that by having a snow response plan. This prepares these contractors and their subcontractors for taking control in some of the most adverse conditions.

If everything works out as it should, the work is accomplished without incident. In contrast, companies without that response plan jump into action with false confidence.

Before long, unforeseen circumstances occur and accidents happen. Some of them serious.

Lists Are Not Response Plans

Most of the cases I’ve worked on involve large companies with multiple locations. Their contractors are often regional or national companies that hire local contractors to perform the work.

What we often discover in these cases is they think they have a plan.

What they have are lists of requirements designed to protect the client and the primary contractor. These are delegated to the subcontractors who are expected to build the plan.

Anyone who has flown commercial airlines has experienced a version of this. Gate and flight attendants follow protocols without exception.

For this reason, when a crisis hits, they are ill-prepared to handle it.

They have a to-do list, not a response plan. What’s the difference?

A list is typically what to do in every situation. A response plan is what to do in any conceivable scenario.

In a courtroom, that response plan is worth its weight in gold because it offers a narrative of reasonable preparedness. Without it, negligence is not difficult to prove.

Thankfully, most of us don’t work in a courtroom, but we have juries that we answer to:

  • Customers
  • Bankers
  • Vendors
  • Employees
  • Families

When pressed, especially in challenging conditions, can you assure them you have a way that is likely to work?

Your response plan is that way. It’s a communication tool that gives everyone confidence.

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Jeff Korhan

About the Author:

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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