One of the most important skills to have is forecasting business trends.
So, we take a look back at the end of the first quarter, 2020. A lot of people were caught off guard when everything started shutting down.
Suddenly, businesses built around a fixed location were left high and dry. Employees could no longer come to their offices. Restaurants started shutting down too except for “to-go” services.
First, let us take a look at the restaurant industry. What about restaurant owners who do not have “to-go” services in place? Were they able to figure out how to do catering or communicate with clients? Did they have email lists or social media presence before the global pandemic?
What did they have to fall back on when they were told that operating their restaurant in the traditional would not be allowed for several months?
In this episode of Freedom In Five Minutes, we explore similar scenarios and examine how best to prepare yourself and your business before disaster strikes.
Overview & Episode Content
- Looking Back at the Business Landscape in 2020
- A Leader can Never be too Prepared
- Applying Lessons from the Past to Better your Business
- Why is it Important to Examine Your Business from All Angles?
Looking Back at the Business Landscape in 2020
Now, I realized that living up here in the hills can place us in interesting predicaments sometimes.
On one hand, we have full control on the majority of our utilities. Our water system, for example. is connected to a deep well.
I even remember feeling concerned about it when we first got here. We even had a few of our family members who were concerned.
“What happens if your well runs dry?” There are so many things that could go wrong and it’s only natural to feel a little concerned about it at first.
And then, we have a huge propane tank as our main source fuel for heating and cooking. And once again, we had people concerned for us and wondering why we are not connected to Southern California gas.
They thought we were nuts for connecting through our own propane instead. But prior to having that installed, we were connected to the Pacific Gas & Electric grid.
Although there is nothing wrong with PG&E, over the last few years they have been doing some interesting things here on the hills. During the fire season, if winds start picking up, they would shut down power across huge chunks of areas—including ours.
If the winds picked up at night based on weather forecasts, they would shut down the power. Sometimes, for 3 days! And they would do that so that any power lines that went down could not spark fire.
A Leader can Never be too Prepared
PG&E does not cut off the power this frequently before. It was not always like this. But the fires have been crazy in the past few years. So, the electric company started to make power outages more common.
I saw how that would negatively impact my business and home. So I thought about what exactly determines everything else, with the way that the world is right now.
For example, what if everything suddenly went down? What if there was a complete revolution in the country and everything just went nuts? What would be the one thing that could leave us most vulnerable?
In our case, I realized that we would be more vulnerable if we continue to rely on our connectivity to the electric grid. We need power not only to run most of our stuff in the house, but also to continuously pump water into our system from our well.
On top of the lights and other equipment not working when the power goes out, our water system stops working too. So whatever is inside our two 5500-gal water tanks when the power cuts off, that would be it for us until the electricity returns.
In our case, our well is located at a lower spot on the hill. So, we have a booster pump installed to pump water up into the house.
For water wells that are positioned higher than the house, gravity is able to help pump water into that house’s water system. And that is ideal because when the electricity goes out, we will not be able to boost water uphill and the toilets are done for—at least until power returns.
Applying Lessons from the Past to Better your Business
Water pressure weakens the longer the electricity is out. Eventually, water pressure will fade until no water comes out of the faucets and showers. So, I figured that those two things—water pressure and supply—are going to be the most important. I realized how important a steady supply of energy is in order to support these two very important things.
So, I decided to install some batteries and solar power systems for our home. We got Tesla Powerwalls. The cool thing about it is, it detects power outages and switches to battery mode automatically.
Now, we have enough batteries to last 24 hours so no longer have to worry about anything. And this is a result of past experiences where PG&E regularly shuts down the power supply.
Living without electricity for about three days is not good, leaving us to make do with whatever we have and figuring things out ourselves.
If people simply had their own electricity and power, they would be able to truly be self-sufficient. But the big thing is definitely becoming aware of the things that could possibly go wrong around the country.
The same thing applies with your business. We must take a look at lessons from the past. So many businesses were very comfortable with having everything and everyone in-house. Despite the fact that the ability to work remotely has been around for more than a decade. People have been working remotely for quite a long time!
Why is it Important to Examine Your Business from All Angles?
Most businesses have gotten very comfortable. As a result, they got slaughtered during COVID-19. And because of the lockdowns, those companies had to go remote very quickly. A few of them were able to make it, but a lot had to shut down and close shop.
And the reason they failed was because they put so much into fixed, physical locations. Now, does that mean everything you do from this point forward should be remote? Of course not.
What happens if the internet goes down and everyone in the company is remote? Now, you would also be screwed because you would not have a meeting place or fixed location to do anything productive.
The point is not whether you should or shouldn’t go remote. The point is to try and see your business from all angles and find out points that could lead to disaster.
For me, all of my stuff is remote. Am I taking a big risk? Yes.
However, I am taking steps to fix that and have people who are from The U.S. and taking other actions to be able to mitigate the risks. The best way to prepare yourself is to observe what your competitors are doing. Or figuring out, beforehand, the types of disasters that could potentially paralyze your business.
Is your business fully online? What if the internet company goes down? How is that going to affect your business? What if the power shuts down? Does your building have backup power? Are you in a place with frequent natural disasters? Is the political landscape stable?
Do you have people in different countries? Obviously, it is better to employ people from different countries. If there is chaos in one place, at least you have backups.
The biggest thing is to figure out where you are most vulnerable. Do you have standard operating procedures that can guide your staff when something goes awry? And this is what we teach at ProSulum.com and FreedomInFiveMinutes.com.
Do you have standard operating procedures? Have you developed processes? If a general manager leaves, will your entire business be able to continue running smoothly?
The most important thing is to find out where your biggest weak point is. Solve that one problem and you will be alright.
Are you trusting too much on one person? Do you have a CFO who has assignments that nobody else knows how to perform? Where is that one bottle neck that you know could potentially cause serious problems for your business.
Take an honest look at where you are at: the political structure, the climate, the infrastructure, etc… What is one thing that could destroy your business.
Resources and Links
This is Dean Soto. Go check out FreedomInFiveMinutes.com or ProSulum.com and I will catch you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes Podcast episode!