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If you’re a business owner or executive, chances are you identify as a planner. To be good at what you do, you have to have excellent skills in planning, organizing, and managing. 

However, no matter how much you plan, sometimes the unexpected will happen. If a big problem arises, how should you respond?

Consider these solutions to the four most common business operational problems that can arise unexpectedly. Some can be planned for to an extent to minimize damage, while others will require you to respond at the time it happens. 

Losing your lease

No matter how great of a tenant you are, sometimes your landlord will decide that the best move for them is to sell their property. Depending on the circumstances, your landlord may give you lots of notice, or find a buyer who is happy to continue renting out the space.

In the worst-case scenario, your landlord will give you hardly any notice at all. While the best option to protect yourself from this situation is to buy office space, this isn’t always a possibility. Maybe you don’t have the finances to purchase, or it’s simply not practical for your business. 

The best thing you can do is sign a lease with a personable landlord that you feel comfortable openly communicating with. By forming a relationship with the landlord, they’re much more likely to give you a heads up in advance. 

Sharp and unexpected increases in demand

A major and unexpected increase in sales sounds like a dream, right? This is only true if you have enough available stock to meet this demand. 

Sudden demand can cause your website to crash, shipping logistics issues, and potentially poor customer service. 

While you can’t predict the extent and timing of growth, you can mitigate the negative effects by increasing your business capacity in advance as much as is financially possible. If you find yourself unable to meet demand, up your customer service to increase the chance of retaining new customers even with the operational issues. 

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Shipping carrier unavailability

You have a massive shipment that needs to go out, but your regular carrier is unable to take the entire load. What can you do?

Certainly, you can begin cold calling and emailing all carriers in your area. However, this takes time, and time is money. Alternatively, check out load boards.

Load boards are a kind of marketplace (or dating app, depending on how you want to look at it) for carriers and shippers. Simply post your needs on a load board and thousands of carriers will be able to see it and respond immediately.  

Natural, biological, and technological disasters

Floods, earthquakes, pandemics, and cyber attacks – they’ve happened in the past and will undoubtedly happen in the future. 

Making it to the other side of these disaster events depends on two elements: preparedness and response. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses without e-commerce capabilities were deeply impacted. To adequately prepare, diversify your business operations. Have back-up systems in place and a contingency plan. 

To respond to these events, you’ll need to be able to adapt. Practice thinking outside of the box in your day-to-day operations and you’ll be more likely to adapt in the event of a disaster. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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