No 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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