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Planning

You need a plan B to ensure minor unexpected events do not become major crises.

Start your plan by looking closely at what you need to do to deliver a minimum level of service. Your goal is to maintain business operations when disaster hits. Include everyone’s needs in your planning. Identify what needs to be done, when and who is to do.

Keep your plan simple and up to date. Communicate and provide regular training so that all involved knows what to expect. Keep only current plan and copies off-site that is easily accessible when needed.

It costs money and time to make a contigency plan, but without a proper one could cost you a lot more when disaster strikes.

Nothing is going to save your company when it lags behind competitors who are more responsive to critical market changes. Hire people with creativity and diverse perspectives into your organization. Encourage them to understand and care about your customers and the world beyond.   Utilize individual employee’s strengths and help him or her overcome weaknesses.

Understand your tolerance level, take calculated risks and show your team that you are not afraid to fail. When you do fail, fix what you can, identify lessons learned and apply them to your next initiative.

Always try to make the best of your time and focus your efforts on getting ahead.

Successful entrepreneurs know their own strengths and weaknesses. If you're to succeed, you'll have to be able to identify what you do well and what you don't do so well. The attached Strengths and Weaknesses Checklist is intended to highlight your skills in several areas that are important to small business ownership so that you can focus on building or improving them.

You will need the free Adobe Reader to use the Strengths and Weaknesses Checklist.

Get away from your business once in a while! Everyone needs a break to relax and get re-energized. You will need to pre-plan your absence by finding the most capable and reliable employee, another business person or one of your family members to be trained and prepared as your backup when you are away.

You need to also train yourself to let go of control and learn the art of delegation. Provide your delegate with all the important procedures and information along with clear instructions and expectations. Have a trial run to test out the arrangement then fine tune the details so that your "get away" plan will be perfect when you need it.

While it’s tempting to accept new business so that sales revenue number can be achieved, especially when times are tough, sometimes walking away from business will actually improve sales and profitability.

Be prepared to walk away if the new business does not meet your minimum profit and margin expectations or your costs required to complete the sale exceed your maximum expectations. Also stay out of it if you are asked to provide over 10% discounts, free services/products before the sale is done or any unreasonable demand. Unfamiliar territories are better left alone too. Remember not to waste your time and resources on non-profitable business.

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