One good thing that comes with age is wisdom. And one of the most important things I’ve learned to do in business is to have a contingency plan.
If you don’t have a backup plan, you’re asking for trouble.
“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
One of the businesses I have is considered to be somewhat “high-risk” by banks who process credit card transactions. And because of that, there is a possibility to have your merchant account shut down without notice.
If that happens, you can’t process credit card orders. Which means you’re out of business in a blink of an eye.
Can you imagine if that happens in the middle of a large advertising campaign? You paid for the ads. People want to order and can’t. That would be a disaster.
And it’s happened to people before.
So, what do I do? I have THREE merchant accounts as back-up, just in case. Why take a chance, right?
Most entrepreneurs and people in general jump into things without thinking about a back-up plan.
I’ve seen this with some clients back in my financial services days. A guy would invest half of his 401k money in one stock, because he was told it’s good. And then I’ve seen what happens to their portfolio when the market crashes.
Or when you put all your money in a real estate deal and it blows up. Been there myself more than once.
Or you put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to a career or a job, without a plan B in place.
Or you start a business with a marketing plan that relies on a specific traffic source.
What if this traffic source goes away?
What if your account gets shut down?
What if they change the rules and you can’t advertise your type of product there anymore?
What’s your back up plan?
Here’s a perfect example of something that happened to me which I wasn’t prepared for.
Yesterday we got an angry email from a customer, through my support desk for one of my businesses.
He was pissed that he couldn’t get through to customer service through the 800# because it wasn’t working.
It really doesn’t take a lot to upset a customer, and support number not working is one of them things.
I quickly dial the 800 # and sure enough it’s down.
Turns out there’s a big outage of some sort, and as I type this 24 hours later, it just got restored.
Fortunately he emailed us, and we were able to reply and take care of him ASAP. While I got on the horn to see when the problem will be fixed. But how many others didn’t get through? I’ll never know.
Now I have no control over servers and data centers and outages that could happen. But I do have control over having a backup plan in place.
What I could and should have done, and in the process of fixing it right now is have my local number right next to the 800# on the website and on all the marketing literature.
I could have also bought another 800# from a different company, and have two customer support numbers available. It’s an extra $10 or so a month to have another number, and a potential crisis avoided.
1. Think about every part of your business.
2. Identify areas where something very important like an outage, losing a merchant account, etc… that would disrupt your business could go wrong.
3. Create a back-up plan for it.
The little amount of time and money it takes to have a plan B could save you unnecessary frustration, stress, and money you’ll be losing when, NOT IF, it happens.
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