Increase your choices, reduce your dependencies

Running a successful business is all about increasing your choices and reducing your dependencies. Unfortunately, there are certain dependencies that it is not feasible to remove, and one of these is a constant, reliable source of electricity. I agree; business owners should be able to expect the uninterrupted delivery of electricity – but as we currently do not have such delivery, we need to move on and find a way to work around the situation.

Inevitably when power outages strike, there is talk of installing generators, battery back-ups, and inverters – with adverts for these suddenly plastered everywhere you look. Managing risk, however, also entails maintaining perspective and not panicking. Even though the power supply is not 100% reliable, take the time to figure out how badly the outages you experience affect your business.

For the vast majority of small business owners, generators and other means of supplying your own power represent an expensive and inefficient way to deal with a not-fully-reliable power supply, so let’s take these options off the table for now.

Every small business owner, particularly in areas where power outages are not unheard-of occurrences, should have a contingency plan in place. Below are five suggestions to help keep the wheels of your business turning during a power failure:

  1. Draw up a contingency work plan
    There is often work that can be done without power, whether it’s catching up on filing or having a brainstorm session with your team. Once you have drawn up your plan, make sure staff are aware of it and that everyone uses the time without power as productively as possible.
  2. Allow people to work from home
    When electricity supply is critical for certain staff members to do work, and an outage looks set to last for a day or two, allow these staff members to take laptops and work from home. Be sure to manage the output expectations in these circumstances.
  3. Find a local coffee shop with internet access
    Many coffee shops and restaurants offer plug points and internet access via wi-fi. Allow staff members for whom internet access is critical to work from these venues. Once again, managing output expectations in this type of situation is crucial.
  4. Set up a ‘buddy system’ with entrepreneurs in your network
    Make a contingency arrangement with entrepreneurs in your network. Set up a ‘buddy system’ that will allow you and your staff to work from their premises temporarily and vice versa if they also find themselves without power at some point.
  5. Reconnect with clients through phone calls
    Nowadays, almost everyone has a cell phone. Use the time that you are without power to reconnect with clients. Follow up on old leads and try to get orders for work that you can do once the power comes back on.

Being without electricity doesn’t mean that you are powerless to do work. Set up a contingency plan to increase your choices, reduce your dependencies, and manage your power-related risks.