In my last post I wrote about emergencies that happen to pilots and entrepreneurs. I pointed out that emergencies consume most of our mental energy and focus. I also noted that it’s often the case that the primary emergency isn’t the thing that is ultimately the most dangerous. Often, it’s something we didn’t see coming because we were so focused on the emergency.

How can we be sure that when we face emergencies in our business lives that we are prepared, not only to deal with them, but also to make sure we are not consumed by something else in the meantime?

Pilots are a worthwhile group of people to consider in this respect.

  • monitor their situation constantly
  • assess their current status and risk
  • consider constantly their options in the event of emergency
  • have a preplanned set of actions ready in the event of emergency>
  • use a checklist to make sure they haven’t overlooked anything when dealing with an emergency

This is an excellent template to use in running our businesses!

Most of the things that can kill a business are known: cash flow, loss of customers, loss of product to sell, employee problems, economic downturns, etc. There are usually some things unique to a given industry that also can kill you. The important thing is to consider what the risks are so that they are identified.

Then, for each risk consider how you would recognize the early warning signs that something is about to happen. You don’t need to dwell on these things, but having identified them, monitor your situation so you’ll recognize a problem before it gets out of control.

As you monitor your business, you need to regularly and constantly assess your status. This is the part where you need to ask yourself questions about what is going on, whether anything unusual is developing, and if it is, what your options may be for dealing with it. 

Pilots consider their options before the emergency strikes. For example, if the engine fails right now I can land on that road directly in front of me. Similarly, a well prepared business person has a preplanned contingency actions for the things that can happen. This plan is reviewed periodically as the business owner considers his options.

Finally, the pilot uses a checklist to be sure he didn’t forget to deal with all the important issues in an emergency.  He doesn’t want to be killed by the smoke while worrying about the fire. The well-prepared businessperson also has thought about all the things that need to be reviewed when an emergency strikes. They have a checklist somewhere to make sure everything is covered.

Consider how you’ll respond when an emergency strikes, for it will surely happen!

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