SILVERDALE — Having a plan to deal with a potential crisis is one way that businesses can not only survive challenging times, but thrive.
That according to Dan Weedin, who spoke at the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce’s Kitsap Business forum May 10.
Whether a person is an entrepreneur or an employee, having a plan on to be ready to deal with disaster was important, Weedin said, because “the continuation of funds into your bank account is important to you.”
Weedin said a resilient business was one that could “take a punch” and also “bounce back up” and throw two punches of its own.
“It’s one thing to be able to survive. It’s quite another to be able to thrive out of it.”
Many businesses do not have a crisis recovery plan because, although they know such a plan should be created, they’re busy dealing with day-to-day tasks.
The enemies of resiliency are apathy, complacency and arrogance.
Apathy is when a business might say it doesn’t need a plan because it has insurance. But not all crises are insurable, Weedin said, such as when a key employee leaves to join a competitor.
Complacency is a “CNN event,” such as when a tornado levels a city.
“‘I’ve been in business 35 years and nothing has ever happened to me.’ Can you hear people saying that?” Weedin said.
“‘That’s not going to happen to me … that happens to people on CNN,’”
Arrogance is when a business says they’ll just “figure it out” when a crisis arrives, but “decisions made in real time are usually pretty bad,” Weedin said.
The cost of not having a recovery plan could include loss of income, inability to deliver product or service to customers, inability to pay bills, higher stress and lower employee morale.
“Your employees really want to work hard for you … they also care about their income,” but if a business is shut down for several weeks due to a crisis, employees could become worried about the security of their jobs.
Loss of opportunity was also an issue, such as when a crisis resulted in something as simple as not having a functioning telephone.
“You might not even know of that opportunity that you never had because you weren’t able to answer the phone.”
Weedin said a business during Hurricane Katrina earned an extra $5 million simply because their business had functioning telephones. Their competitors may have also survived the crisis, but they did not thrive.
A business owner’s time “at a minimum is usually worth about a thousand bucks an hour … your time is your inventory … insurance doesn’t buy you time back … too many of the people I talk to undervalue what their time is worth.”
A recovery plan could be completed in just eight hours, he said. Money could be invested in purchasing safety equipment and in training for employees.
To “throw back two punches” a recovery plan allows a business to thrive rather than simply survive: A plan reduces anxiety and allows for ingenuity; it provides security for employees; it keeps a business nimble and responsive; and it keeps a business operating.
If a business operates without a recovery plan it will eventually encounter a calamity that will cost it dearly, Weedin said. But if the business has a comprehensive, thoughtful and practiced resiliency plan that is communicated to employees and customers then one crisis will be manageable.