The results gap pt5 – Stuff happens

Last week I considered the question “Are we working effectively?”. This week I consider the impact of the unexpected and our ability to react and adjust to it.

 Stuff happens!

Guess what? No matter how good our planning, stuff happens that gets in the way.

What was this stuff last year? When it occured, did you deal with it effectively? Have you got a plan for the next time it or something similar occurs?

For us, it was the fire in a neighbouring building that resulted in us having to migrate to a temporary workplace for nearly 2 weeks at the very start of the tax year! Could we have predicted it? – No! Did it have an impact on the business? you bet! Fortunately, our sales forecast was very prudent (and it was early on in the year), so we have managed to recoup that lost business, we also managed to make an insurance claim to help with the additional costs we incurred but overall it definitely had an impact on the business.

Other ‘stuff’ I have seen that has impacted my clients this year is:

  • The sudden failure of a major customer resulting in lost sales and a significant bad debt
  • Unexpected loss of a key staff member
  • Serious illness of a director
  • Unexpected legal action from a competitor regarding trade marks

Now it is unlikely that a similar thing will happen again but it is pretty certain that something unexpected will. Your business model needs to be strong enough to cope when it does.

Do you have a contingency budget? Appropriate insurances? Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Have you got some accumulated reserves, so you can weather a year in which an extraordinary amount of stuff happens?

Moving forward

We hope this blog series has been useful to you in reflecting on the reasons for your success or your results gap this year. By way of a summary, before you draw up your plans for the coming year mark yourself out of 10 for the following:

  1. Realistic budgeting
  1. Cost control in line with actual results
  1. Effective use of time
    1. For me personally
    2. For the team
  1. Resilience and ability to cope with the unexpected – ie contingency and reserves

Now use this insight in preparing your plans for the coming year! Good luck!

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