Planning for the Unplannable

The recent events in Texas are devastating. I have friends and clients in the Houston area. People that are affected by the flooding. They’re living in hotels. They’re spending their days ripping apart their homes to prepare for the restoration process. Helicopter rescues have taken place only 2 blocks away.

I was on a call with one of those very lovely people this week. As we talked, the discussion steered towards the larger idea of continuity within our businesses when large-scale events, like hurricanes and flooding, divorce and illness, happen.

What do we do as small business owners? We still have a business to run. Clients to serve.

How do you plan for those times that seem to be totally unplannable?

The most obvious option would be to have a plan.

Yep, absolutely correct. You know how I love a good plan.

Have organization to your business.

Have systems in place. And documents for the systems that the entire team can access.

Have a clear list of what needs to be done and when and by whom. And an org chart with roles clearly defined.

But there’s another element of keeping your business stable when it all feels anything but – remember to be human.

You don’t need to make it seem like you have it all together when a hurricane has made landfall less than 200 miles away not more than 3 days ago and now your community is experiencing historic flooding.

Let your clients and team know the situation, whether that’s by phone or email or social media. If you can give them a heads up as to what might occur (all the while hoping that the meteorologists won’t get it right this time) and that you may be out of touch for some time, all the better.

People are so much more understanding than we give each other credit for. When we know what’s going on and aren’t thinking we’re the center of everything. When we relate to one another on a human level.

Last, know that it’s totally okay to just be ‘keeping things afloat’ in your business until your surroundings settle down. (pardon the ill-timed pun)

One professional organizer I follow was extremely open about a severe accident her assistant was in years ago. She shared what happened not only with her clients but her entire community. She was in our inboxes every week and some of us had previously communicated directly with her and her assistant. And having this member of the team out of the game in such an unplanned way for an extended time, she knew people would notice and, most importantly, would also care. Being on the receiving end, it didn’t feel like an overshare or sympathy-seeking or unprofessional, it felt genuine and real and endeared her to me even more.

Have you struggled to embrace your human side while feeling like you ALSO need to keep up the appearance of a has-it-all-together business owner? Share it below – I’d love to hear from you!

Photo by RawPixel on Unsplash


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