Plan for Failure

Feature Article

by Michael Riggs, M.Ed.

All of the pieces are in place.  The due diligence has been completed in meticulous fashion.  The investors are poised and ready with dripping pen and open checkbook.  The market looks very primed for your new venture.  The moment has arrived that you have been dreaming and planning for your entire adult life.  It’s “go time.”  Suddenly, the only thing that could capsize your ship emerges in full force.  “Go time,” in one ugly instant, has become “no time.”  The deal is off.

Most business and personal planners stress the importance of having clear goals with a definite strategic plan to achieve the goals.  Historically, the Krocs, Gates, and Rockefellers of the world had very detailed visions and plans.  Very successful people are notorious for leaving “no stone unturned” as they plan and execute.  Checking and rechecking is the standard, not the exception, to successful ventures.  However, things do not always go as planned.

At best, analysts and strategists are able to give probabilities of success if things continue as planned.  But, what about unexpected or unpredicted curveballs or market assaults?  What about Plan B?  Or, Plan C?  Or, Plan Z?

When planning for success, whether in your business or personal life, it is imperative that sufficient time and effort are made to create solutions for scenarios that are not expected.  What if interest rates soar?  What if there is a sudden and devastating illness or loss?  What if a key individual jumps ship for more pay or freedom?  What if this?  What if that?  Be creative when considering unexpected problems or obstacles.  Don’t be afraid to ponder, in a very real way, worst case scenarios.

It isn’t until Plan A — the one that everyone hopes and expects – shows stress fractures, or fails outright that people begin to panic and point fingers.  Solution?  Create multiple plans based upon multiple scenarios.  Ask a lot of “what ifs” and create a lot of solutions based upon those “ifs.”  It isn’t until many routes have been selected that you should feel comfortable about moving ahead.

After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

S² Tip

Create alternate plans for all ventures. Very seldom does Plan A work just as expected.

Success Story

ONE Way Business client SMART Carpet Care, LLC is turning the carpet cleaning industry on its head with its revolutionary green approach to carpet cleaning and its extraordinary commitment to customer-first relations. Now, that’s Smart!

In Another’s  Words…

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.”

— Frank A. Clark