Prepare: properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready.
I have been working with NLOWE for almost two years now and loving every minute of it. I finished university and worked for some years but honestly, nothing could really prepare me for this position. I have flown in a very small plane (and I am afraid of flying), I have ridden ski-doo over a frozen harbour to do a presentation; I have gotten lost in small towns, and have been stuck in rain and snow storms. But I wouldn’t change anything about it – I get to enjoy travelling to rural Newfoundland and meet new clients with new ideas!
As a Start Up Advisor, I am always thinking of ways to inspire my clients. I think about how business is closely related to your everyday life. In owning a business, you have to learned to budget – in your personal life you also set budgets. In your business you have to work well with others, as a team. In your personal life, your team is your family unit. Most importantly, a lesson I have learned in my own personal life, and now try to encourage others to do in their business is – always be prepared!
With many of my clients just starting their businesses, I can not re-iterate enough the importance of a business plan. A business plan is basically a guide to how you want to run your business; how you can measure your success, and also a framework for daily operations and a go-to when dealing with issues. Beyond the business plan, there are other important ways to ‘always be prepared’ in business.
- Have a back-up plan. Preparation is organizing yourself and your employees to deal with issues that may come up. An employee, for example may have a family emergency. How will your store front stay open if you have no one to work the shift for you? If you plan ahead and prepare a backup plan, maybe a casual call-in/part time employee to work these shifts, you won’t end up in stuck. Another example, a supplier cannot bring their product to you in time. Be prepared, have a back up plan or back up supplier on your speed dial!
- Be organized. Use labels, have a “place” for important items (making certain you can find important documents when you need them), and use check-lists. Being organized will ensure operations run more efficiently and increase productivity.
- Plan ahead. Create manuals for fire and safety, and policies and procedures. You cannot always be at the business 100% of the time; it is important that your employees are aware of, and understand important policies and procedures, which provide instructions and directions for the day-to-day operations of your business.
The unexpected is the risk we take in business. How we respond to the unforeseen affects how others view us. Being prepared to deal with issues, unexpected or otherwise, is about meeting the problem head on and figuring out what can go wrong before it actually does go wrong. Not only is this the Girl Guide motto (which I was a part of as a child) but it is a motto to live and do business by.
Live, learn, and always be prepared!
Lindsay Lindahl is NLOWE’s Business Start-up Advisor in the Central Region. You can reach Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org.