Small Business Owners Need Contingency Plans

The big news, here in Detroit, is Super Bowl XL. Many citizens are chipping in as volunteers and guides, and many small business and home-based business owners are squeezing their way in to the activities hoping to earn a few of the many dollars to be spent here. I guess you could even consider the musicians (who busk on the corner for spare change) entrepreneurs.

During a huge event like this, things go awry. The limo driver can’t get to the front of the building where he is supposed to pick up his clients, more people show up at a restaurant than the place is able to sit or feed. Or, it gets too warm.

Yes, I said "It gets too warm." Jonathan Wits is the event planner who planned Detroit’s Winter Blast– a carnival of sorts that is taking place on the streets of downtown Detroit in conjunction with the Super Bowl. Up until a couple of weeks ago, the event was touting its giant sledding hill as the big attraction. Detroit is cold in the winter, and at this time of year there are usually several inches of snow on the ground.

Not this year. This January is one of the warmest on record. No one could have predicted the weather. Yikes. I hope he has a contingency plan. I’m guessing he has a headache.

So for all of you out there trying to run a business, remember to create contingencies. What if the big deal falls through? What if your computer crashes? What if your event gets rained out? What if the guest speaker doesn’t show up? You need contingency plans. And you need them before the blizzard hits.

Wits has snow making machines on hand, but if it stays in the high 40’s even they won’t help. So what can he do? I heard him say on the radio that there are so many activities going on, no one will miss the sledding hill at all. Or the dog sledding event, or the snow shoe demonstration or the snow mobile rides. Because there are ice sculptures, and musicians, and about a hundred other activities to take part in. I would even guess they will put wheels on the dog sleds and give it a go.

I’m reminded of one other piece of good advice: Go with the flow, and make the best of it. I’m going to the Winter Blast later today. I’ll let you know how it is!

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