Having a Plan B: How to Ensure Your Business Survives

Having a Plan BNo one likes to think about the possibility of their business failing or running into trouble. However, as a true businessperson, you need to take the time to work through a plan for how you will handle potential issues. Having a “Plan B” can help your business get through the tough times so that you can achieve continuous success and growth.

As difficult or unsettling as it is to plan for possible failure, the fact of the matter is that 8 out of 10 new businesses fail within the first year and a half of operation. With the majority of entrepreneurs closing in less than 18 months, what can you do to ensure your business is one of the survivors? You need to know how to identify when your current strategy isn’t working and have a Plan B in place to put your company back on the road to success.

Why Having a Plan B Is Important

On episode 28 of the popular podcast “Success Unfiltered,” entrepreneur and single mother Kate Nowlan discussed finding herself suddenly fired after only five months of working in a job. Nowlan discovered that having a Plan B could have saved her months of stress and anxiety in the chaotic aftermath.

She describes how, despite having absolutely no idea what to do, she still had a family to feed. She needed to buy some time to think things through, dig deep, and lay the groundwork for her next moves. Naturally, this forced Kate to get desperate, not with finances but with opportunities. She mined her past connections and networks and let them know she would be heading back to work as a personal trainer in the interim.

The moral of the story is quite simple: having a Plan B is not just sensible, it’s what can free you up to go for opportunities without any fear. Rather than distracting you or making you overconfident, as the common groupthink about back-up plans goes, having a Plan B can be precisely what allows you to dive into your business headfirst with full effort and focus. It’s a safety net of your own making.

Plan B Pitfalls

Studies on the psychology behind Plan Bs sometimes condemn this mindset, citing the relationship between having one and the amount of effort you put into your existing business. The thinking goes that if you have a solid back-up plan in place, you won’t try as hard to help your business succeed, setting yourself up for failure right from the start. This shouldn’t be the case. Remember that having to call on your Plan B, no matter how good it is, means that you’ve already wasted time, effort, and resources. Simply put, you should always aspire to succeed and not be complacent just because you have a fall back.

Another common mistake that many entrepreneurs make is coming up with a Plan B that isn’t as compelling or interesting as Plan A. Rather than taking the time and effort to devise a real Plan B, they give this task the brush-off, thinking they’ll never have to use it anyway. Then, when they do have to call on Plan B, it hasn’t been thought through enough to be viable or realistic.

Elements of a Successful Plan B

Your Plan B should be just as carefully thought out and planned as your Plan A. It is not enough just to know what you could do if Plan A fails—you need to have actionable steps that you can implement with confidence when needed.

Another key element of a successful Plan B is the ability to act quickly. This means that you’ll need some financial liquidity or the needed resources to be able to put your Plan B into action. If you’re running a business, make sure that your accounting and legal teams or service providers are aware of your contingency plans so they can be prepared as well.

When implementing your Plan B, reach out to your existing network of leads and connections when needed to start bringing in new customers and ask for referrals or assistance. You don’t have to go through this alone, so make use of your support system and professional associates.

Finally, your Plan A needs to have an end point. This does not mean the point where you give up on your business, but rather the point when Plan B becomes your new Plan A. As you rebuild your business after a setback, you need to identify when it is time to stop rebuilding and start implementing your other plan.

Don’t Be Shy about Asking for Help

Sometimes, no matter how intelligent or skilled we are, we’ll still need the help of others to succeed or avoid failure. At Behind Closed Doors, you’ll be in the company of fellow business and career women who will guide and share with you key insights for success, may it be for developing an effective Plan B or for taking your business to the next level. You’ll also have access to networking, mentorship, and other resources that aim to elevate the professional development of women. Get in touch with us today.


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Keys to Effective Time Management for New Businesswomen

Time Management AdviceWasting time—it’s got a lot to answer for. And we’re not just talking about getting carried away watching videos on YouTube or spending hours on Facebook. When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the unimportant tasks and neglect the bigger picture, not to mention the other areas of your life. Entrepreneurs often become bogged down by certain details that waste time and hamper their path towards success. This is true for a lot of women in the workforce, not just entrepreneurs.

If you’re a new entrepreneur and this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s time to sit down, take stock and start managing your business time more intelligently by following these essential tips.

Pay Attention to Self-Care

It might seem contradictory to start by suggesting that you should spend more time on yourself rather than on your business, but hear me out. The term self-care or wellbeing seems to be on everyone’s lips lately, and for good reason: women don’t prioritise it enough. Making time for yourself leads to a healthier life and helps you to manage stress better. If you don’t practise self-care, you can burn out and your business could very well fail as a result.

If you find it difficult to put yourself above work, schedule in some “me” time—even if it’s just to take a long bath—and don’t put it off. Having a break when you can wind down will make you feel refreshed and ready to dive straight into working on your business again. Believe me, a fresh mind is a creative mind and you know that’s correct because when you finally take holidays, your best ideas are formed.

Amp up Your Efficiency

Efficiency is key to having a successful business. You should know how to spend your time wisely and make the most out of it. Ways to efficiently manage your business time include working in set intervals and ensuring you turn off your notifications during this period to avoid distractions.

You can multitask, yet do so properly—switching back and forth between different tasks without progress is a waste of your precious time. It would be better to instead choose one specific task to complete and see it through until it’s finished. This way, you’ll be able to focus your attention on that task, allowing you to dedicate more of your physical and mental resources to it so you can finish faster and more effectively.  Write a top three list and as you achieve an action, add another to the list. This helps you prioritise what is important and must be done, and prevents you getting overwhelmed with a To Do list that gets longer than your arm!

Focus on Your Work-Life Flow

As a woman new to the entrepreneurial scene, chances are you’re eager to spend time growing your business. That’s good since it shows that you have the drive, determination, and enthusiasm to succeed. Be warned though, too much of something is never good, and this includes business time.

As such, make sure you also make time for your family and friends. It’s easy to work, sleep, repeat, but your productivity will likely suffer—along with your social life. When you become so one-track-minded, it’s easy for the creative part of your brain to switch off. Plus, family and friends are important. If there’s a problem with your business down the line, they’ll be the ones who will be around to support you or even help you find solutions.

Organise Your Working Time Effectively

Time management is a key skill to master. With experience and a game plan you can solidify your skills in this area. Increase your productivity by tracking the amount of time you spend on tasks. If you seem to be spending too long on something in particular, assess how you can speed things up or even delegate to your employees as needed. Sometimes, taking a break for 10 minutes allows you to see the task differently and you tend to complete it in a more efficient manner.

It’s also a great idea to make a proper plan or schedule on how to tackle certain projects, including the amount of time to spend on each section of it. Try to stick to this as it will also act as your own personal deadline. With digestible chunks of work, it’s easier to stay focused on each one. Be realistic with your time management goals so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Take Regular Breaks

As well as encouraging yourself to take time off to pursue your social life, have some quality family time, and to look after yourself, make sure to schedule in a few breaks throughout the working day. According to psychologists, this actually makes you far more efficient and productive. With regular breaks, you’ll be able to complete your goals much faster and with more efficiency. Just make sure they’re the right type of breaks, example: go for a walk and get some fresh air—those that help you recharge yourself or gather your thoughts, depending on the situation. If you’re stopping for a couple of chocolate bars and a fizzy drink, this will likely make you feel more tired later when the sugar slump hits.

Delegate the Right Way

If you have your own team or employees, it’s also wise to delegate some of the tasks to them when necessary. Remember, running the show on your own will lead to a greater chance of being physically and mentally exhausted. Trust those who are in the business with you and delegate certain tasks to people you know can handle and accomplish them the right way. This allows you to focus on other important areas of your business as well as increase morale since your employees will know that you have confidence in them.

However, be careful with the tasks you delegate. As an entrepreneur, you should know which ones you should do and which ones you can assign to others. If you’re aiming to gain more growth for your new business, important tasks such as seeking opportunities or building partnerships are better off done by you since you know your business better than anyone else.

Proper time management is just one of the many things businesswomen must practice in order to be successful entrepreneurs. At Behind Closed Doors, we help women succeed in business and in their careers through networking, peer mentoring, and other valuable resources. We’re all about women helping each other achieve greater success in terms of professional and personal development. Find out more about how we can help you here.


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