"Fascinations breeds preparedness, and preparedness, survival."
--- Peter Benchley
As a Florida boy, you learn early all about preparing for hurricanes and everything that comes along with it. You learn to live without electrical power for days and sometimes weeks. You learn to stock up on drinking water, food items, batteries, fans, a generator, ice, first aid supplies and gasoline. This preparedness starts earlier every hurricane season and actually gets easier over the years.
Preparation in business is akin to preparing for Florida's hurricane season: you have to start early, gather enough supplies to last a very long time, and don't be disappointed if the storm changes direction. In business, storms come from many fronts and it is nearly impossible to prepare for all of them, but prepare you must.
"Well, I'm not excusing the fact that planning and preparedness was not where it should be. We've known for 20 years about this hurricane, this possibility of this kind of hurricane."
--- Michael Chertoff
Not knowing when the storm is coming is not a good excuse for not preparing for a hurricane. The same is true in business. We don't know when the government will change sign ordinances, electrical codes, OSHA requirements, or the amount of hours an employee can work before giving them a required break. These changes and many more will come and we should all prepare for them as if they are coming tomorrow.
Market changes, changes in customer's tastes and desires, and changes in the value of the dollar can, and often will, change. The wise business person is prepared and tries to forecast upcoming storms so that they can adjust business strategies including labor readiness.
"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win."
--- Zig Ziglar
We can all go to extremes with over-preparedness though. If the hurricane is days away and we fire up the generator to run the refrigerator, freezer, and air conditioner, that is probably a condition of over preparedness. Perhaps checking the oil in the generator is sufficient at this point. The key is to expect business success, but prepare for the worst.
"Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable."
--- George S. Patton
Weirdly, I am thankful that Florida has its fair share of hurricanes. We wouldn't know how to handle it if we grew up in Kansas and a hurricane came charging through. As in business, those who have come before us have paved a way. The successful business people have shown us that setting up a reserve in the bank for emergencies is simply being prepared. So is forecasting the economy based on activities and reports so that we know how many people to hire in advance.
Training our team members on new installations is preparing and so is buying other businesses, expanding to other territories, and changing our marketing strategies. We don't always know when a storm will hit, but we can at least look for storm clouds, read the signs, and begin stocking up on the appropriate provisions.
"Be Prepared... the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise."
--- Robert Baden-Powell