Missing the boat without a backup plan

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

It’s zero five hundred. I’m waiting for a prearranged taxi to chauffeur me to Command Naval Surface Forces Headquarters on Coronado Island, near San Diego.

No, I’m not in trouble; just part of the U.S. Navy’s Leaders to Sea program, where business influencers get to experience Navy operations and training in real time on board the USS Harpers Ferry, the fastest amphibious surface combat vessel in the Pacific fleet.

If I don’t get to the base by 6am—in time to meet the helicopter transport—I will literally miss the boat.

No problem, I tell myself. The base is just 15 minutes from my hotel.

Tick tock. No taxi. It’s 5:10. I start to get antsy. Have patience, I tell myself.

5:20. The clerk on morning duty confirms that yes, it’s a 15-minute trip … if there’s no traffic. And there’s lots of traffic around this hour because Coronado is a Navy town.

Oy. Now he tells me.

I call the taxi company. Driver is on his way, but got stuck in traffic on the causeway.

5:25. I reach bursting point. I whip out my mobile and arrange for an Uber.

5:30. The taxi comes first, but that’s okay. I make it to the base in plenty of time.

And at least I had a backup plan.

What’s yours?

Backup plans can take several forms.

  • Technology backup. This is the most common one. Is your website backed up in case it crashes (or worse, gets a virus)? How about your email? Or data? Can you access your systems online and offline?
  • Personnel backup. If an employee calls in sick, can others step in to do the work? Can they get to the passwords and files? Easily piece together what needs to be done to move a project along?
  • Budget backup. What happens if a laptop breaks? The office needs urgent repair? Or you have to scramble to fill the void when a vendor goes off the grid? Do you have a cushion to give you that breathing room? Or are you operating close to the bone?
  • YOU backup. What happens if you have a medical emergency? Or take a vacation to the Italian Alps where cell service stinks? Can the business continue to move forward?

Having a backup plan is a critical—and often overlooked—part of building a business. Without it, you could lose vital data, capabilities, and momentum. Plus, spend a lot of time and money trying to recreate what you had.

Don’t miss the boat.

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