At the recent NEXT Upstate’s Founders Forum, our firm’s founder Attorney Doug Kim spoke to business owners about contingency planning and the crucial steps they should take to prepare for disruptions. He speaks from personal experience. In May 2023, during a diving expedition to Truk Lagoon Micronesia, unexpected challenges unfolded, leading to an extended stay due to flight delays caused by Typhoon Mawar.
Before the one-in-a-lifetime journey began, Doug and the rest of the firm prepared meticulously, including informing clients, designating a point of contact, and addressing administrative tasks. Despite facing unexpected delays and limited communication options during the trip that Mother Nature extended by two weeks, the firm’s established policies and procedures allowed for effective management of the disruption. We didn’t miss a beat!
The resilience of our firm’s operations, enabled by our SaaS tech stack, cloud storage, and VPN, allowed for continuous communication and work progress. The ability to triage and prioritize tasks ensured that essential work continued, even in the face of uncertainties. The experience highlighted the importance of having contingency plans in place, especially when unforeseen circumstances lead to an unexpectedly prolonged absence.
While the incident tested the firm’s resilience, it also provided valuable insights into the effectiveness of remote work capabilities. It underscores the need for businesses to not only anticipate disruptions but also to implement robust contingency plans that encompass various scenarios, ensuring continued functionality and adaptability in the face of the unexpected.
At the end of this article, you find a download of the presentation and a link to future NEXT events… as well as live local news coverage of Doug’s ordeal. Let’s delve into the key points covered in the presentation:
Complete a Comprehensive Business Analysis Impact Report:
He emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough business analysis impact report. This involves scrutinizing all business functions, applications, and services to identify vulnerabilities and potential areas of risk. By understanding how disruptions might impact different facets of the business, owners can proactively implement measures to mitigate risks.
Protect the Essentials for Revenue Generation:
Protecting what’s vital to revenue is paramount. Doug advised business owners to identify and secure the critical components that drive revenue. This includes safeguarding key assets, client relationships, and proprietary technologies. By prioritizing these elements, businesses can enhance their resilience against disruptions that may threaten their financial stability.
Cross-Train Teams and Establish Succession Plans:
Cross-training teams is a strategic move to ensure that no single person holds exclusive knowledge or skills critical to business operations. For solopreneurs, Doug recommended finding a trusted friend who can serve as a backup and hold a spare set of keys to the castle. This not only mitigates risks associated with personnel dependencies but also ensures a smoother transition in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Develop a Comprehensive Communications Plan:
Effective communication is key during times of disruption. Doug suggested creating both internal and external communications plans. Internally, it’s crucial to designate a person in charge and establish clear communication channels. Externally, keeping clients and vendors informed is essential for maintaining trust. Additionally, evaluating the need for public relations (PR) during crises ensures that the business’s image is carefully managed.
Data Recovery Strategies:
Doug outlined a robust data recovery strategy involving the maintenance of three copies, two backups, and one offsite storage. This ensures data redundancy and protection against data loss. Incorporating third-party solutions that are geographically untethered adds an extra layer of security.
Measures to Safeguard Property and Funds:
To protect property and funds, Doug recommended internal agreements such as employment and independent contractor agreements. Safeguarding intellectual capital (IP), having duplicate vendors, and establishing an incident response team, both internally and externally, further fortify the business against unforeseen events.
Insurance and Contract Clauses:
The importance of insurance in contingency planning cannot be overstated. Doug suggested considering insurance coverage tailored to the specific risks faced by the business. Additionally, including contract clauses that outline provisions for emergency use of electronic data processing equipment helps manage expectations in case of equipment failures.
By incorporating contingency planning strategies, entrepreneurs can build resilient businesses capable of withstanding disruptions and adapting to changing circumstances. As Judson L Moore aptly stated, “A bad plan is better than no plan,” emphasizing the significance of flexibility in adapting and refining strategies as circumstances evolve.
- Download Doug’s full presentation: Contingency-Planning-NEXT-FoundersForum_2024
- Check out local news coverage of “Stuck in Truk” – https://www.wyff4.com/article/nearly-a-dozen-people-from-upstate-stranded-near-island-guam/44056200
- Learn more about NEXT Upstate’s Founders Forum series.