How many telephone companies do you subscribe to? Several of my friends have mobile telephone numbers with at least three different providers because it is important for them to have a back-up plan.In an area where one network does not offer coverage, or in the event that another network shuts down completely, my friends are still able to communicate. Rather than waiting until they found themselves in a situation where they could not make any calls at all, they set up alternatives pro-actively.Have you set up alternatives for the critical areas of your business? If not, below are a few ideas to get you going.
CustomersSometimes when a small business eventually wins a big account, little to no effort is put into diversifying the customer base beyond that large customer. Consider a poultry farmer who is finally accepted as an egg supplier for one of Kampala’s large supermarkets – Nakumatt, Shoprite, Quality or Uchumi.
Although that farmer’s success is commendable, this should not be the end of that farmer’s search for customers. If a customer who accounts for a large proportion of your sales is lured away by the competition or decides that they no longer require your products or services, your business will have to close its doors. Pursuing and winning customers of different sizes will limit your business risk.
SuppliersIf you know a number of different suppliers who can provide the inputs your business needs, whenever you ask them for a quote or invite them to bid, let them know you have several options to choose from.
This could result in more courteous service, better prices and even better payment terms. Another aantage of having more than one approved supplier is that you have someone else to go to, should your regular supplier be unable to meet your requirements. It is aisable that you maintain a list of approved suppliers that your business can call on as necessary.
StaffIf you have a small staff of say five employees and one of them fell sick, what would you have to do to make sure that the business continued to operate smoothly while the sick employee was away? Waiterswaitresses might need to serve a few more tables each. Seamstresses might have to work a few extra hours to handle their sick colleague’s workload.
Alternatively, you might have to bring in a temporary replacement. What if an employee resigns without giving notice, will you have to close your business until that employee is replaced?
The time to identify places or people that could provide temporary replacements to keep your business running is now and not on the day an employee calls in sick or resigns. On the day that you actually need to have an alternative for a business operation, it will be too late to create one. Start working on your business back-up plans today.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor